The winds of change have surely taken over the Indian Railways, for the ministry has decided to curb one of the prevailing menaces observed across the country— VIP culture!
One of the protocols followed by the rail authorities was the mandatory presence of all general managers during the arrival and departure of the Railway Board chairman and other board members at the time of zone visits. This has been followed for the last 36 years.
In an order passed on September 28, the ministry has reportedly stated that such protocols, which have been observed at airports and railway stations, are to be scrapped with immediate effect.
The officials are to refrain from offering or receiving bouquets and gifts at any given time. “Senior officials will also have to exercise restraint at home. They will have to relieve the railway staff engaged as the domestic help at their homes,” Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani told Times of India.
Reportedly, close to around 30,000 trackmen have been working at the residence of senior officials, who have been directed to resume their duties.
“No one will be exempt from the directive to rejoin work except under very special circumstances. We are hoping that all the staff will join work shortly,” a senior official of the ministry said.
Senior officials have also been directed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to opt for Sleeper and AC Three-tier classes, where they can mingle with passengers, instead of travelling in executive classes and capitalising on travel privileges.
This mandate includes members of the Railway Board, general managers of railway zones and divisional railway managers in each of the 50 divisions.
“I believe that when these protocols were in place, people drafting them would have seen some reasoning behind them. It is difficult for me to say what they were though. However, now, these have no logic,” said a former railway board member.