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Turnaround specialist Ashwani Lohani gets responsibility to stop train accidents

24 August, 2017, 02:13 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Centre takes Railway Board by surprise

Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday offered to step down following two rail derailments few hours after the Chairman of Indian railway board A. K. Mittal tendered his resignation.

An official statement said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved Lohani's appointment.

Lohani, an officer with Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), is now Chairman-Managing Director (CMD) of Air India. Meanwhile, the Railway Baord Chairman AK Mittal gave his resignation today.

Mittal resigned taking moral responsibility for the two train accidents that occurred in a span of five days and claimed the lives of 22 people and injured over 200. The Minister, however, tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked him to wait. The extension was cleared by the Prime Minister's Office.

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Three days after the Utkal Express derailment, another train Kaifiyat Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning. Around 74 passengers were injured, including four seriously.

In a series of emotional tweets, Prabhu said he was "extremely pained" by the two derailments in Uttar Pradesh. Lohani also has his name registered in Guinness Book of World Records for successfully running the "Fairy Queen Express" which is the world's oldest working steam locomotive.

Holding the Limca National Record for four engineering degree, he is a qualified chartered mechanical engineer from I.Mech. E (UK) and holds degrees equivalent in electrical engineering, metallurgical engineering from the Institute of Engineers of India. He was scheduled to retire in 2018 and would have been the longest serving chairman of the Railway Board if he had continued. Prabhu said that in the last three years, he has worked day and night to improve the condition of the country's railways. But he was too junior compared to current members of the Railway Board. Officials say under Mr Lohani, the struggling airline posted an operational profit of Rs 500 crore past year and improved its performance. They said some senior officers approached Prabhu, who said the matter no longer concerned his ministry alone.

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