Railways’ nodal officers to take care of netas’ food, tea, comforts.
Mumbai: More benefits await our already privileged Members of Parliament (MPs), as the Railway Board has issued a circular stating that every zone and division of the Railways will have a nodal officer only to take care of MPs while they are travelling. This officer will coordinate with protocol officers en route, who will look after the food, tea and every comfort of the MP.
The circular holds importance, as it is the first time that such instructions have been conveyed in black and white to the Railways. The circular reads, “Each zonal railway shall identify important stations on their railway routes involving the movements of MPs and nominate a station manager and state superintendent of the station as a nodal officer to co-ordinate with all matters relating to the travel of MPs with or without spouse or companion (sic).”
Taking it one step further, the Railways has nominated an officer, who will have to maintain a list detailing the location from where the MP had booked the ticket and this officer will have to inform MPs if they have been given alternative accommodation in different trains or classes.
Officials at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Churchgate will have to put in place a mechanism for informing MPs or their staff if an accommodation lower than the class that was asked for is provided. If the MP then says that it is not feasible, the objection will be kept on record.
Unhappy with this decision, some railway officials said, on the condition of anonymity, it was completely unnecessary and it was taken only to please the MPs. “A lot of the MPs harass officers even if they are told that they cannot be accommodated in the first class of an air-conditioned coach, but second class instead.”
A protocol officer will be appointed by the nodal official who will also make sure that the MPs face no problems while travelling when it comes to food, hygienic toilets and clean linens.
Ruling party MP Kirit Somaiya denied any news of the circular. Mr Somaiya, who has been spearheading railway infrastructure issues in the city, said, “I have no knowledge of the circular.” When asked if he welcomes the decision, he added, “I don’t know the intention with which the circular was issued. That’s all I have to say in the matter.”