Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani named Railway Board Chairman

August 23, 2017 04:49 pm | Updated 05:33 pm IST

Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Ashwani Lohani.

Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Ashwani Lohani.

Ashwani Lohani, CMD of Air India, has been named the Chairman of the Railway Board following the resignation of A.K. Mital.

The move comes after former Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mital tendered his resignation on Tuesday evening. Sources said he resigned owing moral responsibility of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailment in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening due to several lapses in the track maintenance work.

According to sources, Mr. Mital, a Principal Secretary-level officer, had sent his resignation to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday. His resignation came two days after the Railway Ministry decided to send Railway Board Member Engineering and Secretary-level officer Aditya Kumar Mittal on leave holding him responsible for the Utkal Express train accident at Khatauli railway station near Muzaffarnagar that had killed at least 21 passengers and injured over 80 people.

Mr. Lohani, an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) cadre  had served as DRM, Delhi Division; Director, National Rail Museum; and Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuel. He holds the Guinness Record for successfully running the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive.

Mr. Lohani, who holds four engineering degrees, has authored two books (one on steam engines and the other on management) and is credited with the turnaround of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and the India Tourism Development Corporation.

The Railway Ministry on Sunday sent three top officials on leave, suspended four local level officials and transferred another official after, prima facie, finding lapses in the maintenance work that led to the derailment of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, claiming 21 lives.

(With inputs from Somesh Jha)

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