Railway Board Chairman Mittal quits

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Aug 2017 09:02:34


By Sagar Mohod,


Ashwani Lohani, a favourite of the PMO, may take charge High drama in Rail Bhawan as all the Members went to Mittal, asking him to take back the resignation. But Mittal was firm, indicating that he must have been asked to go. Even Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, matters have now reached beyond the Ministry Lobbyists are pitching for Member Traction, Ghanshyam Singh, as the next Chairman

RUMBLINGS in top echelons of Railway Board finally reached the doorsteps of its Chairman, A K Mittal, who resigned on Tuesday. Mittal has put in his papers to pave way for Ashwani Lohani, the favoured choice of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), sources in Delhi said.
Lohani, an IRSME, is currently Chairman-Managing Director (CMD) of Air India. He is considered as Midas man as Lohani scripted success story of MP Tourism and was later drafted for pulling out beleaguered Air India from the red.
In fact, PMO had favoured making Lohani as Railway Board Chairman (CRB) when Mittal had superannuated about a year back. But he was too junior compared to current Members of the Railway Board. But post-Utkal Express mishap, PMO stepped in and heads started rolling in Railways top hierarchy. First to go was Member Engineering, who was sent on compulsory leave just 10 days before his retirement and now Mittal has put in his papers, it was reliably learnt.
High drama was witnessed in Rail Bhawan on Tuesday as top brass went into huddle as they learnt about CRB’s resignation. All the Members went to the CRB, asking him to take back the resignation. But Mittal was firm on his stance, indicating that he must have been asked to go. Sources claimed that Mittal told his co-officers that he is helpless, an indication that decision rests with Government. Members of Railway Board wanted that ME’s leave decision be taken back and he be allowed an honourable exit. They contended that ME had no direct role in Utkal Express mishap case and asking him to go on leave was unjust.
The Members called on Railway Minister Surest Prabhu and urged him not to accept CRB’s resignation. But Prabhu said matters have now reached beyond the Ministry and there is pressure from PMO to act, the sources further said.
Even otherwise Mittal was on extension. He was reappointed for another two-year term by Central Government post-retirement. He was in effect a stopgap arrangement as Government wanted him to keep seat warm for Lohani, as was the talk
at that time, which seems to be coming true now. Railway Minister has learnt to have forwarded CRB’s resignation to PMO, sources claimed. With the resignation of A K Mittal, lobbyists are active to pitch for someone from within Railways to be made the next CRB. The name of Member Traction Ghanshyam Singh is doing the rounds. He is supposed to have backing of some important functionaries who have put in a word for him with the Government. In case Singh is made the next CRB then D K Sharma, current General Manager of Central Railway could be eligible for elevation as Member Electrical, said people in know of things.