Within hours of taking over as Railway Board chairman, Ashwani Lohani described employees as the organisation’s strength and said that together they would change “VIP culture” and bring “working culture” in the Indian Railways.
Lohani was appointed yesterday after his predecessor A K Mital resigned in the wake of a string of train accidents.
“Our employees are our strength, we need to work along with them to make the railways more efficient. We need to improve our work culture and encourage interaction with the employees up to grassroots level,” he told employees in his first interaction with them, and called for speedy redressal of their grievances.
“We will change VIP culture and bring working culture in Indian Railways. Dissemination of IR (Indian Railways) vision to each and every employees and to stakeholders is essential for dedicated and involved working,” he said.
He also said that he disliked “unnecessary protocols,” said an official present at the meeting.
Giving an example, Lohani said that whenever he or any other senior official went to inspect a station, he did not want the entire branch office concerned to turn up to meet him.
Lohani said that he wanted the ministry to cut down unnecessary expenditure, especially on frills such as bouquets.
“We need to ensure transparency in our work, corruption will not be tolerated at any level,” he said, adding that “speedy grievance redressal” should be the focus and that “work productivity should be enhanced”.
Lohani also spoke at length about how railway officials should move around and be in the field to ensure that railway staff have the assistance that they need to do their work.
He said that senior officials should listen to their subordinates, who he said have a right to express their opinions.
Lohani, who met the Railway Board members too this afternoon, discussed the recent accidents as well the ministry’s zero accidents road map, an official said.
Earlier in the day, while speaking to reporters, he said that the safety of passengers would be the topmost priority of the railways.
“Safety will be our topmost priority, of course. Cleanliness, improvement of stations, and ending corruption and VIP culture would be other areas of focus,” Lohani said.
He further said it was an “emotional moment” for him to return to his parent organisations and that he would work hard to improve the working of the railways as there were a “lot of expectations” from him.
Lohani, an officer of the railway mechanical service, had earlier served as the divisional railway manager in Delhi.