Ashwani Lohani assumes charge at a time when the safety aspect of railways is under sharp focus.
New Delhi: New Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said Thursday that the safety of passengers would be the topmost priority of the Indian Railways.
“Safety will be our topmost focus, of course. Cleanliness, improvement of stations, ending corruption and VIP culture would be other areas of focus,” Mr Lohani said soon after assuming charge.
The railway ministry had on Wednesday appointed Mr Lohani as chairman of the Railway Board after A.K. Mital had tendered his resignation following two derailments within a span of five days that left 24 people dead and more than 200 injured.
Mr Lohani, 58, said there were “lot of expectations” from the Railways and it would work hard to improve itself.
Mr Lohani, an officer of the Indian Railway Mechanical Service who had earlier served as divisional railway manager (DRM), Delhi, said it was an “emotional moment” for him to take charge of the Railway Board. It “felt good” that the government has considered him “worthy” of this position, Mr Lohani said.
Underlining that the Railways, a very old organisation and India’s lifeline, has several strengths. “We will move forward on those strengths,” he said.
As Mr Lohani entered Rail Bhawan, he bowed down to pay his respects to his parent organisation. Hailed as a turnaround specialist, Mr Lohani was serving as the CMD of now operationally profitable Air India. He assumes charge at a time when the safety aspect of railways is under sharp focus.
On August 19, 13 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh, killing 24 passengers and injuring over 150. On August 23, at least 70 people were injured when the Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya, also in Uttar Pradesh.