Kerala disconnect-tion


Monday, December 10, 2007

pliability of Railways officialdom

text of the letter sent to the press:

The candid admission by Sri Laloo Prasad Yadav that the private bus operator lobby had been holding up the progress of the Bangalore-Mangalore train services all these years, is most intriguing. It has raised far many more questions than have been answered as of now.

Very obviously the Railways officialdom had known this from years ago. Why is it then that they failed to act on it until now? How much has been the revenue loss to the Railways on account of the neglect of this lucrative route, over so many years? Can anyone be held accountable for it? If not, isn't it also quite clear that the Railways have not been, and are not, quite equipped to go by compelling commercial considerations?

Simultaneously, though, neither have they been going by social considerations, subjecting as they have been such large sections of the lower middle class population belonging to this region, who form the core of the railway passengers, to hardships and financial loss, while pandering to the whims of the various influential lobbies.

Further, it requires no expert study by a Harvard MBA (on which programme, the honourable minister appears to have become an honorary faculty member) to unearth similar cases of neglect of other equally or even more lucrative sectors, Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram perhaps topping the list.

Also, when government-run operations can be so easily hijacked by influential private sector lobbies, isn't the best way to counter it, privatisation of the train services itself (Railways retaining the network and infrastructure), in order to allow for market forces to come into play on a level playing field? May be a beginning could be made with the superfast expresses.


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