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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2 Down – More to go?

The arrest of two senior railway officers recently – Rakesh Kumar CEO of CBFC and K.M.Tripathi former CGM of IRCTC for accepting bribes made headlines. That both these officers are young and from the services is indicative of the depths to which some of us have fallen.

Yet these incidents are not a bigger surprise than the Railgate of 2013 that placed railways as the epitome of corruption in the country. Never before in the history of independent India was a secretary level officer arrested and charged for manipulating with hard cash, his own posting at an apex level in the organization. Yet he was the person who was caught and crucified while others of his elk got away. We all were witness to juicy details of wrongdoings on the part of the powers to be during those days, the shocking cell phone conversations covered by dailies, yet the incident that was expected to mark the beginning of many more heads rolling, actually became the end of such investigations with the result that corruption flourished and achieved new heights.

Recent report of the CVC also placed the railways at the numero uno position in so far as corrupt practices and the number of officials charged with graft are concerned. Not a matter to be proud of, especially for those who like to walk with their heads held high.

It is really a “low” for this great organization. Being regarded as the epitome of corruption is definitely not something one can write home about, yet the very fact that the wheels of this great organization keep rolling magnificently speaks volumes about the cutting edge employees of this organization. 

Is this – the recent arrests – marks the beginning of the end of corruption in this great organization? Many wish so yet the majority having tasted the consequences of not toeing the line would continue to remain skeptical. And that leads me to wonder – why officials from the services despite reaching fairly senior and well-paying positions go astray and secondly why do officers who consider themselves honest miserably fail to stand up to misdeeds of superiors. Prime Ministers clarion call from the red fort this independence day to rise above the "Mera Kya, Mujhe Kya" syndrome needs to be inculcated. Perhaps there is something wrong with our grooming of youngsters who have come to regard their jobs, not as service as Modi exhorted the nation to, but as opportunities at loot and self-aggrandizement. Sad it is, yet one has to accept the ground realities as emerged during Railgate and reinforced by the recent arrests and CVC’s damning revelations.  

That the new government looks upon railways as the prime mover of economic activity in the nation is indeed heartening. The immense potential that railways possess in triggering and giving a push to economic activity in the nation is waiting to be tapped. But for that the organization shall have to first eradicate corruption and unethical conduct cutting across levels, an exercise that would indeed unlock the tremendous potential of this monolith.

There is absolutely no doubt that the time has arrived for this great organization to move in the direction of a genuine fulfillment of national aspirations. In God we trust.......

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