Noted industrialist Ratan Tata will take a train journey after 50 years. He expressed this desire on Wednesday in the first meeting of Kayakalp Council (the Innovation Council) of the rail ministry.
He noted that he has not travelled in a train all these years, but would do so because his assignment requires him to do so. The industrialist is chairman of the Council.
According to sources present in the meeting, Tata said that he wondered why he was chosen for being on the body as he had not made a train journey in all these years. He narrated how he ultimately agreed to the assignment after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu persuaded him.
Tata offered to travel with his team-members in the Council in a train to gain first-hand knowledge of how people feel while travelling by a train.
Excited about the idea, a top railway official told Deccan Herald that the railways would certainly arrange a comfortable journey for him. After all, one can familiarise with the problems of a train-traveller without travelling in an ordinary compartment, said the official. Sources said that Tata came all the way from the US to attend the meeting and immediately went back.
In his reflections, the pioneer industrialist suggested that the most important thing for the organisation was to generate pride among the employees who work with the railways.
The Council has the General Secretary of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) Shivgopal Mishra, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) M Raghaviah, Executive Director (Industrial Relations) of Railway Board Ragini Yechury and Executive Director (Innovation) of Railway Board Madhukar Sinha as its members. The Council has been given the task of Innovation, Technological Development and Manufacturing.
The industrial leader told the Council to collect information from the grassroots.
He has also asked them to collect data on passenger amenities and other aspects of the railways’ functioning in different parts of the globe including from the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Malaysia and France.
However, he stressed that India’s specific needs should inspire solutions. He did not approve of the idea of privatization and wanted railways to have better managed welfare activities.
The meeting was attended by Railway Minister Prabhu, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, Chairman Railway Board AK Mittal and Members of Railway Board.