Indian Railways seems to have found a new tool to expedite work on its ongoing projects: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name. In a recent conference of its Chief Mechanical Engineers, the Prime Minister’s name was invoked several times to underline the significance Rail Bhavan was attaching to the timely completion of critical projects.
As per minutes of the conference, accessed by The Indian Express, Railway Board’s Member Mechanical Alok Johri told the engineers, “Projects are being closely monitored. Three projects in Budge Budge, Haldia and Chhapra are being monitored by the Hon’ble Prime Minister himself. One of these is likely to be inaugurated by him. Projects have to be delivered quickly…”
Railway Board’s Additional Member (Mechanical Engineering) Rakesh Vatash told the engineers that “change in Government at the Centre, followed by Railway Budget has brought in fresh initiatives and perspectives on dealing with issues”. “There is close monitoring even at the level of the Hon’ble Prime Minister,” Vatash said.
Johri also told the conference that “presently, the environment and the government is receptive to change”. “This opportunity must be used to streamline processes like multiple finance concurrence. I am willing to delegate all purchase powers to zonal Railways except for powers to purchase complete rolling stock.”
Railways are currently setting up two major manufacturing units in West Bengal: a LHB Bogie Frame Manufacturing facility at Budge Budge and a LHB Coach Project of the Integral Coach Factory at Haldia. Both projects are being viewed as politically significant as the BJP is trying to make inroads into Bengal.
Meanwhile, Rail Bhavan is abuzz with instances of how references to the Prime Minister have, of late, become frequent in official communications. Many officials admitted that the reference did add to the gravity of the matter and helped in getting things rolling.