‘Surprise checks are productive’

In the Indian Railways,he is famous for being a tough bureaucrat and a workaholic. Yet,his humility and sensitivity to the common man are well known.

Written by Kalpana Verma | Mumbai | Published: March 8, 2009 11:11 pm

In the Indian Railways,he is famous for being a tough bureaucrat and a workaholic. Yet,his humility and sensitivity to the common man are well known. This unique combination makes him different from other officials. BB Modgil,the new General Manager of Central Railway,believes in taking interest in the small things that matter. The man who brought the fear of surprise inspections in his officers has quite a few surprises up his sleeve.

Q. You are born and brought up in Mumbai. As a commuter,what is your opinion about suburban section of the Cenrtal Railway?
As a student,I used to travel first class and the coaches were almost empty. The second class coaches were also okay. But 1968 onwards,I found the crowds escalating. When I joined as Additional General Manager,WR,I ensured that trains arrive only at their designated platforms as a change in platform causes inconvenience to commuters. But today,the rakes,drains and tracks are cleaner. Earlier,there were no slums. Population pressure was less,frequency between trains was half an hour. So punctuality is in fact better now. I still prefer to go by trains.

Q. Now as the GM,what do you think of this section?
Commuters now have more facilities and maintaining all of them is a big challenge. The number of CR services has increased manifold. Though cleanliness has improved,this is an area where I am paying more attention.

Q. You are the person who started trend of mega block at nights in WR.
As the ADRM,I realised the need for mega blocks at night to keep the overhead equipment (OHE) fit and the tracks in good condition. In 1995,mega block was work undertaken between Bandra to Borivali and I used to be personally present. I ensured the work was completed before the first train was to run in the morning. It was successful and I decided on mega blocks every two weeks.

Q. This is the first time in 30 years that the annual GM inspection is being undertaken. What inspired you to take up this hard job?
About 34 lakh passengers travel every day in the suburban section. I talked to my officials and supervisors who gave me reports on how many indicators,fans and others things are available at various stations and how many of them are in working condition.

Now,in CR,special muck trains run after 12.30 am for removing the tonnes of muck collected on the tracks. The annual inspection would improve a lot of things. Also,it will help travel easy during monsoon.

Q. You are known for surprise checks. How does it help you to reach yours goals?
Surprise checks are productive. I get first hand information about the working of the section. Once,on my round,a woman staff informed me about problems of using public toilets as renovations were being carried out at the motormen lobby toilets. The problem was solved with my intervention. Passengers talk to me and tell me their problems. I have seen blocked drains along the track at many stations that may lead to problems during monsoons.

Q. Have you ever thought it would be better to be the GM of WR,where the hurdles and obstacles are less than CR?
I love work. I feel that work in CR is more challenging and I like to challenges. I also worked in WR but CR is a huge railway section. It covers most of Maharashtra. Also,I feel that the staff ,supervisors and officials in CR are excellent. I heard that during 26/11,after the security clearance,CR’s first train left CST at 2.34 am. This year,we are running 1,512 summer specials,double that ran last year.

I have a good team of officials,supervisors and staff. I am honoured to be their team leader. I have started monitoring every delayed start to a train. I have instructed my staff to inform me on a daily basis any delay in start of the trains.

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