'One can't afford to be populist if you want railways to keep moving'
My guest today is somebody who has the toughest job in 21st century India and, I must say, in 2013, the most exciting-Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. So tell me, is it the toughest job or the most exciting job?
Well, I won't call it the toughest. It is exciting alright, because for many years, there were things pending in the railways and people's expectations have risen over the years. This is one department that touches the life of every Indian and therefore, there is a lot to be done. You have got to be really aspirational in your approach and our task should be for the new generation-as you said, for the 21st century.
You say it should be aspirational. But, over the years, or say, over the last decade-and-a-half, it's become minimalistic-jo gaadiyan hain woh chalti rahein, chaar-paanch ghante se zyada late na ho, the fares should remain the same and toilets should continue to stink...
There is a lot to be done. If we have a vision for the railways, besides the expansion of the network, which is already vast, what is necessary is that it should be hassle-free travel for the people. The trains, coaches, stations, should be clean. We have made an effort in this direction by starting bio-toilets. This is a