Concerned over train delays, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani today asked managers of the ten worst performing divisions — including Allahabad, Varanasi, Howrah and Mumbai Central — to explain the reasons and take remedial measures. According to official figures, nearly 30 per cent trains ran late in the financial year 2017-18, making it the Indian Railways’ worst punctuality performance in three years. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the punctuality rate of mail and express trains fell to 71.39 per cent, down from 76 per cent.
As of March 2018, there are 21 critical divisions across the country’s railway network having a punctuality rate of less than 80 per cent. Among them, the worst performing divisions are Allahabad division (which recorded a punctuality of around 48 per cent in 2017-2018), Sonpur (57.7 per cent), Mumbai Central (60.9 per cent) and Lucknow (60.97 per cent).
An official said that Lohani held a meeting with ten divisional railway managers whose divisions were found to be the worst performers in terms of punctuality. In his meeting with DRMs of Allahabad, Muradabad, Mumbai Central, Howrah, Samastipur, Varanasi, Sonpur, Trivandrum and the two divisions of Lucknow, Lohani asked them to explain why trains in their region were getting so delayed.
“In the meeting, Lohani pointed out that if a block is taken (for maintenance), then it should be ensured that all the work in the region is completed simultaneously. He had held a similar meeting on May 12 with general managers of eight zones with punctuality of less than 70 per cent and asked them to use the maintenance blocks optimally and to maximise the output,” said the official.