New Delhi: Earlier this month, NDTV India's Ravish Kumar hosted a series of Prime Time shows spotlighting train delays - the last financial year has been among the worst for punctuality by the Indian Railways' own record. On Saturday, the 165-year-old institution trudged into action, taking the first step towards fixing the problem.
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani held a review meeting with the worst performing zones and conducted a scrutiny of speed restrictions. A video conference was held with the general managers of eight zonal railways which had reported less than 70 per cent punctuality.
On series of a Prime Time episodes starting earlier this month, NDTV's Ravish Kumar highlighted how train delays appeared to have become a new normal. The report found that trains are getting delayed by several hours every day even though there is no fog during this time of the year nor congestion due to special trains.
Almost 30 per cent of trains ran late in the financial year 2017-18 -- the Indian Railways' worst punctuality performance in three years, according to official figures cited by news agency PTI.
The eight worst performing zones include East Coast Railway, East Central Railway, Eastern Railway, Northern Railway, North Central Railway and South East Central Railway.
"The punctuality performance of these zones was discussed in detail for the current year. The chairman said that blocks are to be optimally used. These are needed works, but the zonal railways need to maximise the output," an official was quoted as saying by PTI.
The zonal railways raised the issues of improving the time tables and availability of coaching stock and other issues.
"The chairman ordered to monitor the timing of more than half a dozen trains that are running too late for the last few days," the official said.
From April 2017 to March 2018, the punctuality of mail and express trains was 71.39 per cent, down from 76.69 per cent in the corresponding period of 2016-2017, which is a deterioration of 5.3 per cent.
(With PTI inputs)