The Railway Board has announced the creation of a new ‘Gati Shakti Directorate’ , clubbing various works under different wings into a single one to “create additional railway infrastructure, bring in synergy and efficiency into the sytem, enhance the market share in cargo handling and reduce the logistic costs”.
An official order issued by the RB’s joint secretary B. Majumdar few days ago to senior officials across the country has stated that the new directorate will work with the existing strength of works, signal directorate and so on, and will report directly to the RB’s Member-Infrastructure.
The new directorate will be headed by an Additional Member of RB as the principal executive director to coordinate with the RB, interface with other ministries and others. Six other members will be executive directors for traffic, signal & telecommunications, civil, electrical and finance wings.
Other two members will be an economic adviser looking into all the projects and another officer to deal with security related issues. The directorate will be involved with appraisal and sanctioning of projects, preparation of cost estimates, sanction and examination of surveys etc., with regard to new lines, gauge conversion, doubling and other traffic facilities.
The new directorate will have the mandate to prepare cabinet notes for approval of projects needing clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The directorate is supposed to audit various projects and bring out reasons for taking corrective steps if there are delays in the implementation. It will have to monitor projects underway and liaison with the respective State governments for forest clearance, wildlife clearance, land acquisition, power supply, etc.
The new directorate has also been given financial powers to take up projects costing anywhere from ₹100 crore to ₹500 crore with approvals to be obtained from the RB and the Ministry. For projects above ₹1,000 crore, the NITI Aayog will have to be involved too and anything above ₹1,000 crore will require approval from the CCEA too. It has also been made mandatory to prepare detailed project reports for any new project costing above ₹50 crore.
For now the officers identified for the new directorate will continue to function concurrently from their respective departments till the new system stablises, said the official circular.