New Delhi: The shocking derailment of Delhi-bound Kalka Mail near Malwa station of Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh has drawn the attention of people towards the startling fact that Railway Department is functioning without a full-time Union Minister and the key post of Member of Traffic Control section in the Railways Board is lying vacant for a period of two years. As a result, passengers are paying the price of the lackadaisical approach of the Union Government.

The post of Union Railway Minister has been lying vacant since Mamata Banerjee vacated the portfolio to take over the charge of West Bengal Chief Minister. Since then, the Ministry is under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Though on the behest of Banerjee, Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy was named as Minister of State for Railways, but his performance has failed to impress Congress and other UPA allies. The two other Ministers of State for Railways KH Muniyappa and Madhav Singh Solanki too are unlikely to get a cabinet berth in the proposed reshuffle.

Making the scenario even worse is the fact that the most important post of Traffic Control member in the Railway Board is also lying vacant for past two years. The post is regarded as an important one as Traffic Control member is responsible for the entire rail traffic system in the country.

Meanwhile, the General Mangers of different zones of the department are over burdened with work. In such condition, the Railway Ministry is entirely governed by the bureaucrats.

Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal, who has recently taken over the charge, is looking after three key portfolios. General Manager of South Western Railways, Mittal is also looking after the charge of member of Traffic section in the Railway Board. The Railway Board sans a full time member of Traffic section for more than 24 months. The previous Chairman of Railway Board Vivek Sahai too was looking after the additional charge of Member of the Traffic Section.

Alike Mittal, Member of Mechanical section in the Railway Board Sanjiv Handa is also handling twin responsibilities. Handa is also the General Manager in the coach factory at Chennai.

It is a similar scenario in the different zones of Railways department. General Mangers of different zones have to take up additional responsibilities as key posts are lying vacant.

General Manager of the Central Railway Zone Kulbhusan is also handling the charge of Western Railway Zone, whereas General Manager of RDSO Lucknow KBL Mittal has the additional responsibility of North Eastern Railways.

Under the present scenario, it becomes extremely important to fill up the vacancies to minimize the possibilities of train mishaps.

(JPN/Burearu)