Railway Board Current Affairs - 2019

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New Railway Zone for Andhra Pradesh

The Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal has announced the creation of new railway zone for Andra Pradesh, Southern Coast Railway Zone to be headquartered in Visakhapatnam.

Key Facts about the Southern Coast Railway Zone

  • The Southern Coast Railway zone would comprise of existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions that currently fall under the South Central Railway and the  South Central Railway will then consist of the Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded divisions.
  • Waltair division under the East Coast Railway Zone, covering the northern districts of Andhra Pradesh, parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha will be split into two.
  • One part will be incorporated in the new zone and merged with the neighbouring Vijayawada division, the remaining portion will be converted into a new division, headquartered at Rayagada, under the East Coast Railway (ECoR).

Political Move?

  • Under item 8 of Schedule 13 (Infrastructure) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 Indian Railways was required to examine establishing a new railway zone in the successor state of Andhra Pradesh. Southern Coast Railway Zone is a step forward in this direction.
  • The establishment is largely seen as a political move since the Railway Minister has given assent to the creation of new zone despite the internal report of the Railway Board calling it “catastrophic”.
  • The report had said that creation of a new zone in Andhra Pradesh would be “like putting many nails in the coffin of the Indian Railways.

The South Coast Railway zone would be an 18th Railway zone in the country. Currently, India has 17 zones and a total of 73 divisions.

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Government appoints Ashwani Lohani as New Chairman of Railway Board

The Union Government has appointed Ashwani Lohani as the new Chairman of the Railway Board (Ministry of Railways). Prior to this appointment, he was serving as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India.

His appointment comes after A.K. Mital resigned from post, owing moral responsibility of Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailment in Uttar Pradesh due to several lapses in track maintenance work.

About Ashwani Lohani

Mr. Lohani is an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) cadre. Earlier he had served as DRM, Delhi Division; Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuel and Director, National Rail Museum. He holds the Guinness Record for successfully running the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive.

He holds four engineering degrees, has authored two books (one on steam engines and the other on management). He is credited with the turnaround of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) and the India Tourism Development Corporation.

Railway Board

It is the apex body of the Indian Railways. It reports to the Parliament through the Ministry of Railways headed by the Union Railway Minister. The Chairman of the Board with the status of a Secretary to Government in the Ministry of Railways is responsible for decisions on technical and policy matters of Indian Railways.

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