NATIONAL

Nitish for decentralising decision-making process

NEW DELHI OCT. 28. Airing his concern over dipping revenue, the Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar, today called for decentralisation of decision-making process at the administrative and financial levels in the railways to improve both services and earnings.

Inaugurating a two-day conference of General Managers of 16 zones, Kolkata Metro and six Railway production units here, Mr. Kumar said the decentralisation process would improve punctuality of trains, efficiency, safety, revenue and timely completion of projects.

On rail safety, he said the authorities concerned would have to take effective measures to improve punctuality, cleanliness and safety as they determined the efficiency of rail services. In the context of law and order and terrorist threat to rail operations, there should be better coordination between the railways and the State authorities.

Emphasising on procuring standard safety-related items, the Railway Minister also asked the participants to standardise the mechanism of transparency and openness in tenders and work to make tenders free from the influence of mafia.

The conference has been convened for mid-term review of plan performance, timely completion of ongoing rail projects and improving safety measures.

The Minister of State for Railway, Basanagouda R. Patil, and the Railway Board Chairman, R. K. Singh, also addressed the meet.

The Railway Minister said steps should be taken to improve track fittings, removal of wheel fracture through better inspection and quality control and asked the general managers to discard the wheels produced at Durgapur Steel Plant. He also asked them to speed up works under the Special Railway Safety Fund and concentrate on removal of rail failure, hot axle and composite brake lock.

In view of the fall in revenue and considerable increase in the volume of both freight and passenger traffic during the first half of the current financial year, Mr. Kumar said there was a need to intensify marketing efforts. He said the desired objectives of rationalisation of freight rate and modification in the classification of freight and parcel traffic had not worked.

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