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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A runaway train!

Mail Today carried a report in today’s newspaper on the extravagant expenditure proposal of the railways to purchase train sets at costs almost ten times that of modern high speed trains recently introduced on the Indian railway network. Twenty train sets costing over Rs 550 crores each are slated for purchase in an attempt to inject an element of modernity to the railway network.

Going in for a train set costing over Rs 550 crores as against a formed german design train costing Rs 50 crores with no attendant advantages other than perhaps a better photo op for the travellers can at best be called foolish, unless of course there are pressing reasons that are not so apparent.

It is also unfortunate that mere injection of new technology is regarded as modernization in the railway system. New technology has to be synchronized with changes in contractual and decision making processes and also training and recruitment systems for the staff who have to deal with it. It is indeed sad that even an organization like the COFMOW, the avowed aim of which was modernization of workshops confined their role to that of a machine procurer, without any appreciation of what modernization is all about. The trend continues till today and half baked modernization efforts are continuing with impunity in almost all departments of the railways. 

IT for the sake of IT has also created much havoc within the confines of the railway machinery. In the garb of a semblance of IT, manual systems are continuing in parallel almost everywhere thereby denying the advantages that are inherent if IT is implemented in true letter and spirit. 

Perhaps these are symptoms of an organization gone astray or a runaway train clueless about its next port of call.


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