Piyush Goyal has been one of the most efficient ministers in PM Modi’s cabinet. The Hero of India’s Village Electrification Drive and LED Revolution, Piyush Goyal has been an overall achiever. His talent was aptly rewarded by PM Modi when he was recently promoted to cabinet rank and was even given the charge of Railway Ministry which was previously held by another illustrious minister Suresh Prabhu. But Piyush Goyal is not just limited to work, he also is a great communicator. Piyush Goyal uses Social Media like a pro to apprise people about various important developments. Today a Quora user got a glimpse of Piyush Goyal’s Communication style and brilliance when he took out time from his busy schedule to answer a question on Quora. Yes, that’s correct. Piyush Goyal took out time to answer a question on Quora.
The question posted by Quora user was rather simple. He asked – “What is the government doing to improve the safety of Indian Railways?”. Simple Questions have difficult answers or sometimes they don’t have an answer at all. But not this one. Piyush Goyal answered the Quora question and once again put on an impressive show of his brilliance.
Here’s what Piyush Goyal said, The following post is an verbatim reproduction of his Quora answer.
Safety of all passengers in Indian Railways is an issue of the utmost importance for Government. Therefore, we have made safety the number one priority. During the first few weeks in office there has been a comprehensive review of safety undertaken to understand the short comings of the Indian railways. The outcome of the review brought forth a number of immediate measures that must be taken to address key issues such as Unmanned Level Crossing and Derailments. Here’s how the Government is working towards the welfare and security of every commuter.
Track safety is the number one priority for The Railways. Some of the issues related to unmanned level crossings have been addressed for a safer commute are –
- 34% of all accidents in 2016-17 were a result of unmanned level crossings
- Using transformative mantra of “Speed, Skill and Scale” the target to eliminate these been expedited from the earlier one of 2019
- Overriding priority for granting maintenance blocks. Blocks in September are up by 13% compared to last year
- Track replacement/renewal to be accorded the highest priority
- The Ministry will procure seven lakh tonne of rail, from open market to meet the shortfall of rail for new lines, gauge conversion and doubling
Another major safety issue hampering the growth of the Indian railways is derailments, due to defects in tracks along with other issues.
- Derailments are attributed to a number of factors including engineering mistakes, carriage/wagon defects and staff error
- It has therefore been the ministry’s priority to focus on track replacement/renewal
- The construction of new tracks should be diverted to places/stretches which are prone to accidents and where replacement is due
Another priority for the Ministry is the procurement of new rails on a large scale with a target to complete all new lines on time. This is vital to improving safety as older tracks must be phased out to prevent derailments and improve efficiency.
HIGHEST PASSENGER PRIORITY WITH LHB COACHES
It is also decided that the manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped & new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured. ICF coaches have been in service for around 50 years now and are considered to be outdated.
TRANSFORMING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
The Government is investing in technology to make sure that the way people commute changes and become more comfortable and safer. Following are some steps we have taken –
- Ramping up electronic interlock of signals in place of manual interlocking
- Within few months, CCTV cameras will be installed in all suburban trains in Mumbai with monitoring mechanism. This shall be done in parallel across India as well.
EFFICIENCY IN RAILWAYS
We, at Ministry of Railways, believe that employee efficiency leads to comfortable and safer journey of the commuters. Keeping the same in mind we have made the following changes in the way our employees work.
- Five-member committee of senior officials of Railways to improve safety of staff and workers working on railway work-sites mainly tracks
- Report of Mumbai suburban audit covering each suburban station received. Key recommendations include Provision of new FOBs (Foot Over Bridges) and widening/replacement of existing FOBs, escalators, additional entry/exit points of landings etc. Zonal railways preparing action plans
- Fresh time table, which will have specific blocks of maintenance, to be prepared and launched soon. Efficiency gained from this initiative will improve the speed and safety.
Empowerment of GMs, DRMs and field officials of Indian Railways will lead to fast track decision making, execution and overall working of Railways. Here are some steps we have taken towards steady and systematic transformation of Railways.
- Delegation of unlimited financial and administrational powers for safety to field unit GMs of zones for next 18 months
- Posts of Additional Divisional Railway Managers being increased in all the railway division offices for improving operational efficiency.
- 200 officers to be relocated from Head Quarters as in field to strengthen ground operations and project implementation.
- Tremendous stress on field inspections by officers
- Staff being used in residences of officers etc. has been reposted to departments including track safety. About 8,000 such staff has already rejoined their posts
Along with all the other decisions following are some other steps taken for passenger safety –
- Treat platforms and pathways on platform as safety items with no budget restriction
- Pre-painted rails to reduce rusting of rails while saving Rs. 1,500 crores
- Additional escalators at all high use stations across India
Lastly, Indian Railways have striven to establish a ‘zero accident’ railway system, and it has significantly brought down the number of fatalities under this Government. However, every life is precious and each life lost is one too many.
We believe that this is just the beginning in changing the mind set regarding safety. It is and will always be our priority, and we are fully committed to making your journey safe and comfortable.
The Answer first appeared on Quora