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Railway board Chairman emphasizes safety

Newly appointed Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said safety will be the focus area of railways, which is at a critical juncture and faces an "image perception" problem.

In a letter to employees, Lohani said railways had suffered a "serious dent" in the recent past due to "certain unfortunate incidents". Lohani's letter was dated August 28 - a day before railways witnessed the fourth derailment in 10 days when Nagpur bound Duranto express derailed near Mumbai on August 29.

Former Air India CMD and a railway mechanical engineer by profession was brought in by the government last week to head railways after recent increase in train accidents due to derailments.

In the letter, Lohani said, "At this critical juncture when we are facing a serious issue with the image perception of the railways, I expect all my fellow railwaymen to pitch in wholeheartedly to set this perception right." He added, "We have to always be on our guard to ensure the highest level of safety in train operations and instil a renewed sense of confidence in our esteemed passengers."

"The great Indian Railways has suffered a serious dent in the recent past due to certain unfortunate incidents. Such incidents often overshadow the great work that this organisation performs day in and day out," Lohani wrote.

He also identified quality of catering, linen and cleanliness, which he said was crying for attention, as other areas of concern and stressed on the need to adopt a mission mode to bring improvements in a very short time.

"Our operating ratio needs to be brought down considerably, not only by reducing expenditure but by increasing freight loading and also finding other means of non-conventional revenue generation to achieve a spurt in revenues," the chairman railway board said.

In the fourth train derailment in 10 days, the engine and nine coaches of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed in Maharashtra on Tuesday.

On August 19, 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed near Khatauli in UP's Muzaffarnagar district, claiming 23 lives and injuring over 60 people. On August 23, about 100 passengers were injured when 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express train derailed in UP's Auraiya district.


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