Published On : Fri, Oct 9th, 2015

Rough weather journey for Railway Minister

As improvement agenda fails, the Minister reprimanded
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
New Delhi/ Nagpur: One-time confidant of Prime Minster Narendra Modi, the Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has failed to withstand the test for which was chosen, and he has disappointed the BJP government’s claim of providing passenger-oriented better services by Indian railways, said media reports.

He has been served a letter by Prime Minister’s Office which reminds Prabhu of what should have been done in railways in the name of Modi’s much acclaimed slogan  ‘vikas’ (development), but has not been done to satisfaction. It was Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra from PMO who dashed Rail Bhavan, the Railway Minister’s office to hand him over a to-the-point letter of PMO enlisting the needed improvements in railways under PMO’s 15-point agenda. But as Prabhu was not found at his office, the letter was handed over to another official in the Rail Bhavan, A K Sharma. The letter is said to be particularly highlighting Railway Minister’s failure and accountability in terms of accidents in railways this year.

Reports say that the letter has shaken the Railway Ministry, and the next cabinet reshuffle might decide the fate of Suresh Prabhu. The knowledgeable sources claim that Prabhu may be dropped in the next reshuffle.

Principal Secretary to PMO, Misra in the letter clearly underlines Modi government’s objective, as, “Improvement of railways is an important agenda of the government.” Quoting PM, he has said in the letter, as, “The PM has time and again emphasized efficiency in railway system.”

Further, the letter points out that the Railway Ministry’s budgetary allocation this year is Rs One lakh crore and there is a “need to organize machinery.” The quarterly expenditure is only Rs 17,000 crore, Misra says, and it has to be expedited.

The letter nudges Suresh Prabhu with the reminder that “quarterly targets of various activities of railways have not been achieved” and says while quarterly performance is better than the previous year, it is not enough.

Misra also writes that it had been discussed several times to structure PPP (Public Private Partnership) projects like “high speed trains which require a high degree of project structuring”.

However, the Railway Ministry denied that it had been reprimanded by the PM’s office. “It is part of routine assessment. Our performance is expected to improve in the next quarter,” said the Ministry spokesperson.