Citizens' Issues
Open Letter to the new Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Former Managing Director of Konkan Railway and pioneer of the Skybus Rajaram Bojji, popularly known as B Rajaram wrote an open letter to new Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu with practical suggestions and possibilities for drastically improving the Indian Railways


Rajaram Bojji or B Rajaram, inventor of the indigenous & cost-effective anti-collision device (ACD) technology and former managing director, Konkan Railway has written an open letter to Suresh Prabhu, the new Minister for Railways. In the letter, Mr Bojji has provided practical suggestion to improve the Indian Railways.



Shri Suresh Prabhu,

Minister of Railways,

New Delhi



Dear Shri Prabhu,


I am personally very happy that a person like you, with balance in thought and speech will head the tough Railway Ministry. Many will rush to advise you, but the very size of the system could overwhelm anyone, with the Railway Board making life miserable by dumping you with day to day operational problems and mishaps.


Midnight calls would likely keep you awake.


I just want to share some ideas and advice more as an old friend. Suppose I happen to be in your shoes what I would do?


Here are some brief action points. We all know that the Railways need modernization. However, our Railway Board is busy building its own individual departmental empire. Too many committees have come out with voluminous or simplistic reports. Give more money or import is the solution they come up with and grand numbers like Rs1 lakh crore. But what about viability?


In my opinion, it is irresponsible to give financially suicidal recommendations. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is glibly talked about and immediately our babus push for foreign technology based brand new workshops or manufacturing facilities, with guaranteed cash outflow but without guaranteed performance levels of output to improve revenues or safety. I suggest FDI or public-private-partnership (PPP) should always be based on the principle of assuring least financial burden on the Railways in particular and on the nation more generally.


Some examples of effective application of FDI and PPP:


1. Modernization of technology for coaches and locomotives:-


Existing manufacturing facilities all be handed over in exchange for equity stake, to modern technology providers creating a technology upgradation PPP. Every 5 years, technology modernisation cycle should be planned. Export to foreign markets, Make in India also should be a condition. Our assets, valued at current prices, be handed over and any profit the PPP makes will be shared by the Railways. Assured order quantity be committed in return for the above. The FDI has to be accepted only from technology leaders in that area. It is not money, but technology we need. No fresh land or structures are needed. Instead of one-time technology upgradation, we will get assured technology upgradation for a longer period. We will also save on staff costs and material costs. Current staff should be offered VRS or relocation. The FDI PPP may re-engage with better salaries for deserving staff.


2. Case of keeping stations clean:


Adjust current costs (like maintenance, cleaning, managing security , parking facilities, food sales, parcel management, etc) for inflation and make it an annual guaranteed payment. Assets of the station and the land around should be valued at current market prices and treated as stake of railway in the proposed JV. Private party with sound financial standing should be invited to form PPP to provide modernization of station equipment like escalators, retiring rooms, cafeteria facilities, refurbished flooring and lighting, and with quality of service certified by a third party like Technischer Überwachungsvereina (TUV). The income stream for this JV company is the guaranteed cash inflow from Railways, the proceeds of platform access charges for non passengers, cafeteria food sales, commercial exploitation of land attached to station. This PPP JV can raise debt funding based on capital at charge for modernizing the station facilities to improve revenues. As major equity holder, Railways will share profits of the company, but will not be part of management. The company board will have a Railways representative. This step can unlock the unearned value of railway properties in and around stations and change face of the Railways.


3. Medical Organisation:


Railways has more doctors than officers running railways. The hospitals too are well developed and sit on prime properties. All the real estate should be transferred at current market value along with the equipment into a JV. With a well recognized hospital and medical healthcare management company, all Railways doctors should be offered alternate placement in the PPP JV. Similar to station service management, the JV will use this equity base to raise funds in the market, modernizes streamline and offer better quality service to railway employees. What is the assured revenue stream? Here gain take the current cash outflow on medical services and offer the same for each Zonal Railway to to set up a JV on this basis. Further commercial exploitation of lands also be allowed. Railways will hold a major share in the company and automatically get profit shares. So all medical services in railways thus will get managed by 10 or 15 PPP mode JVs. Again Railways by agreement shall not be in management. Only Board of Directors of each company will have Railways representatives. Digital networking, telemedicine and smoother workflow, shall be part of the agreementm with medical records of employees becoming accessible all over India. The company should be allowed to take outside patients too, as paying customers, including foreign patients. Medical tourism should be actively encouraged. All this, without neglecting railway employee interests.


4. Railway Colonies:

Even today, huge land space is occupied by railway colonies with sprawling bungalows. It's time we form a JV with our land and buildings valued at current market prices, with private real estate companies. For railway officers and staff, modern flats with amenities can come up, increasing capacity and providing excellent facilities by land reuse. Old and difficult to maintain bungalow culture must be done away with. More green space, biking tracks, neater and tidier roads with lighting should be built. Apart from the assured cash inflow at current costs, being incurred by the Railways, the PPP can generate additional revenue streams by building modern supermarkets, high-end entertainment and shopping malls in the land released. Funds can be easily raised because of the heavy equity base of Railway assets transferred at market rates. The rent payments of employees will go to the company. The company becomes responsible for maintenance, water supply, sanitation etc. Railways again gets share of profits. Saves staff costs and material costs as well as contractual costs of maintaining huge colonies with major concentrations of employees.


5. Track machines, track laying equipment, welding and ballasting:


Railways should not own any of the above. Transfer all related equipment to a JV with PPP . Provide assured cash flow in terms of current cash outflow for promised outputs as laid down today. Modernization of equipment, improved productivity, assured quality can be well defined and third party quality assurance certification part of deal. New line construction also is to be handled by these JVs. Profits will be shared by Railways as stakeholder. But no management participation by Railways except representation in Board of Directors of the JV company. For the entire Indian Railways, about 10 or 12 companies can be supported.


6. Electrification:


Electrification too can follow the above model by collaborating with zonal level service providers through JVs.


7. Improving speeds, throughput and safety:

  1. Get rid of fixed signals, have cab signalling, moving block system for train operations. Indigenous technology is available and has been tried for 160 kmph speed successfully. Railways should use the advanced version of ACD (Anti-Collission Device), India's own technology.

  2. Average speeds can be raised by 30 to 50% for goods and passenger trains, as well as doubling capacity.

  3. This would cost less than one-third the imported alternative technologies. And we already have rolling stock technology for 160 kmph speeds, which can be upgraded to 180 kmph.

  4. Safety needs to be assured by adopting Safety Integrity Level (SIL) of 2/3 of CENELEC certification, not by RDSO.

8. Make Zonal Railway Departments centres of responsibility and authority:


Most important step is to make zonal railway a centre of responsibility and authority. Wide area digital networking on the lines of Konkan Railways, integrating all facets of railway operations, must be implemented.



With these measures, Railways can create profit centers from current cost centers. Efficiency will improve, people will see a new face of Railways to be proud of. This would be financially sound too!”


Thanking You,


Rajaram Bojji



(Rajaram Bojji or B Rajaram as he is known popularly, is former managing director of the Konkan Railway and also inventor of ACD Technology and Skybus)



sandhya r gandhi

7 months ago

consider the case as possible as fast.

sandhya r gandhi
Suprabhat travels
Mobile no.09426960327

Kiran Kumar

8 months ago

Good Evening sir!
Sir I am kiran from hyderabd telangana.I requested direct train hyd to vellanikini.. More then people's going this place.. We are waiting.. Chennai... 15 hours in next train Chennai to vellanikini.plz...accept my request

Rajesh Badavate

1 year ago

Dear Sir,

We can ave electricity by applying sensor to fan,lights in trains & platform to stop misuse of electricity

[email protected]

manhar kothari

2 years ago

Railway has yet to extend e ticketing facility to most deserving class i.e person with disabilities.
I hope you will agree with me that benefit of technology should be first made available to this class.
I understand that DDTC(G) II,Railway Board vide their letter no 2011/TG-I/10/e –ticketing for disabled dtd 10.4.2013 has stated that the broad outline of the system framed by CRIS, has been examined in Board’s office and proposal has been agreed too.
I also understand that instructions issued to the concerned stakeholders i.e Northern Railway, CRIS and IRCTC to undertake necessary action to give effect to the proposal submitted by CRIS on a pilot basis over the Northern Railway.
Reasonable times have passed and hope some progress is being made on the subject.
Iam sure you will take special interest so that this facility is made available as early as possible to differently abled persons.


2 years ago

being a commuter of railway i just want to say that it is task of all us how travelling through the trains.Railway officers were not always present to rectify the fault and bad habits of being a passenger of the train it shall be our moral duty to stop the non sense or immoral activities.Railway has the duty to boost up there employees to do there best of the duty.SR KR and many more in south have more cleaner stations than the NR,NER,ER and many more,that what i exactly notice. Railway is very wide institution it is not possible for a one person.

Ganesh Bhat

2 years ago

Dear Railway Minister, I am sure that you are interested in making a difference like all the Ministers in Mr. Modi's Government. First and foremost is to tell all the Railway Officers not to show their arrogance and to shun the " We are the Lords and you the public are the slaves " attitude. It is their responsibility to see that all the trains kept clean and are run on time with priority to passenger trains.. Railways has become too obese and sluggish due to babudom and it must be your first target to make it trim and active .Earlier Railway Ministers have all failed to do anything in this direction and it is a good opportunity to bring about a visible change. People have given you the power to perform . People are sceptical but I hope you will prove them wrong.

t j ethiraj

2 years ago

The most important improvement will be manpower cost and their productivity.The cost of labor to be pegged at 33 % of revenue.The salary perks and preivelages of serving and retired employees must be taken into account.Right from railway board member to class IV employee must be accounted.Funds are drained in the segment leaving very less money for moderisation and maintenance
t j ethiraj

Mahesh Khanna

2 years ago

I would like to question the basis on which the season ticket fares are decided, it is irony that the commuter travelling from Churchgate to Andheri has to pay the fare that is charged up to Bhyandar.


2 years ago

Mr Prabhu, Railway Minister
I travel almost 6 times in a year on HWH YPR route but now find that AC 3 tier coaches are attached which are made in 1995 . Journey takes 36 hours.
recently I used B3 coach no 958111 on 7-12 in which 1 toilet was closed and used as Linen room. If you give your mail ID i can send pics also ,further the coach has rats and cockroaches and the seats were giving sound of metals and ratteling .
where is PM Sauchalaya Banwao MAKE TOILETS slogan going when railways itself is Closing 1 out of 4 toilets for 64 pax works out to 22 per pax.)


Deepak SB

In Reply to AJOY KUMAR SARAF 2 years ago

0n 15th Dec 2014 I travelled by PNR No. : 8630452755 Train No. & Name : 51034 / SAI NAGAR SHIRDI TO MUMBAI VT-CSTM FAST PASS.


On 15 Dec'2014-This train was in time at Ahmednagar around 7 PM.However on reaching near Ambernath-ON 16TH DEC 2014-EARLY MORNING-(not on platform) train was holted for over 3 (three ) hours form 6 AM till 9 AM -without any information to passangers as to why train has been STOPPED FOR OVER THREE HOURS.( NO SIGN OF ANY RAIL EMPLOYEES TO INFORM PASSANGERS REMAINING HUNGRY AND THIRSTY FOR OVER THREE HOURS).




I travelled by same train on 20th Nov 2014.Train was late by over 2 hours and 3 tier ac compartment was fully infested with RATES.This train was halted JUST BEFORE BYCULLA STATION AROUND 5 AM IN MORNING FOR OVER ONE HOUR.




jaideep shirali

2 years ago

If the Railways start functioning for the sake of the taxpayer rather than their own staff, things would change dramatically. An organisation that spends 93% on its own expenses can hardly be expected to have anything left over for safety, technology or passenger comfort. The perks enjoyed by Railway employees, working or retired, are out of place in today's times. It's time that the Railways get out of hospitals, real estate and unrelated areas, to give the taxpayer the benefit. Finally, the Railways need to remember that they exist because of the taxpayer and not that they are doing the taxpayer a favour by functioning.

Ajit Kumar Sinha

2 years ago

While I fully support the suggestions of Shri Rajaram, my only appeal to the Hon'ble Railway Minister is to ensure timely running of trains and improvement of passenger coaches. I invite Shri Suresh Prabhu to personally inspect the trains under East Coast Railway and take a decision.


2 years ago

In non AC bogies and 3 tier AC bogies, if a senior citizen has no option but to go the upper berth, he has to be in extremely fit condition. First, he has to negotiate the step which is more or less a welded rod and then crawl onto the sleeping area. For this reason, it is imperative that the railways should either develop and design a radically different type of coach or atleast develop a hoisting mechanism so that the passenger can easily ascend to his berth.


Narendra Doshi

In Reply to KAVIRAJ B PATIL 2 years ago

Due to this I have only the 2AC choice for non optional acceptance as wait listed first AC can never get confirmed more than 1-2% probability. I totally agree and a good, convenient option must get implemented fast.

Capt Edgar Sylva

In Reply to Narendra Doshi 2 years ago

The reservation system is a real farce.In Train 12619 Matsyagandha Express 2 AC compartment ONLY 16 out of 46 berths are available to the public. And it is a joke to see where the allotment is for the other 30 berths (It is a scandal- when I asked I was told under RTI that I would have to pay Rs 750/- to see the reservation chart? Of these 16 berths only 2 lower berths in the main vestibule rest are the side berths if they are lower ones.
Mr Prabhu you are from the Konkan area and this train would serve you and your family but where are the berths available if you are not a Minister. I think that the reserved berths should not be the BEST berths in the compartment; if someone has to travel at the last minute ANY BERTH WILL DO- this train is controlled by CR; it runs 790 kms on KR and then 20 odd kms on SR so I am told that there are reservations for each of these railways.
Mr Prabhu; if the track laid between LTT and MAQ is only about 900 kms why are passengers asked to pay for 1190 kms = why are charges made for superfast express when the speed of the train is less than the minimum for such trains.
Ladtly I would suggest you do your own study and see about the AC reservation system- how many hours after it opens do the berths get filled up- if this is the case why all the "reservations for en route passengers" (and after they get off its a 'free for all' with the TTE selling vacant berths to the highest bidder from the General class passengers.
IS it not funny


2 years ago

Excellent suggestions mr Prabhu pl consider in comments are related to CORRUPTION -recent example of GM mahesh Kumar -who is under suspension.RLY AUDIT by professional firms like Accenture/KPGM will be of great help.RLYs are monolithic and tough to handle Start from catering Contractors-lot of skeletons will roll out Nexus bet officials and Contractors /Rtd Babus ----list is endless
Small step-like PM suggested-SWATCH RAILWAY will go long way.
Why Does Prabhu Need ARMORED Vehicle to protect his empty FLAT in MUMBAI?Who is paying -we taxpayers Pl avoid Wasteful unjustified expenditure Prabhu is known as AJATSHATRU

Ramachandran Vizhakat

2 years ago

Good suggestion. The wastage disposal dustbin is too small. action be taken to take the wastage out at regular interval.

sohan modak

2 years ago

Dear Mr. Prahu, let me add my bit to Mr. B. Rajaram's note. In continuation with Swatch Bharat campaign, the sanitory affair of railway coaches need a huge input. We, Indians, by practice, being super dirty and ignorant in public cleanliness, you may consider redesigning the toilets, water reservoirs by way installing hand held water sprays. But most important, run a short video footage in or outside the toilet on what it takes to keep the toilets clean and how to maintain it in a clean usable condition for the next person.

Nifty, Sensex looking tired– Wednesday closing report

Only a strong event or news can drive the market significantly higher


In line with what we mentioned in Tuesday’s closing report, the Indian indices opened higher and broke the previous lifetime high it hit on Monday. However, lower volumes supported the rise today on the Nifty. The surge in the morning session to the new lifetime high was followed by a gradual move down. However, the benchmark indices managed closing in the green.

S&P BSE Sensex opened at 27,959 and moved from a high of 28,126 to a low of 27,959 and closed near the day’s low at 28,009 (up 99 points or 0.35%). NSE’s CNX Nifty opened at 8,379 and hit a high of 8,415, and moved lower to the level of 8,371 finally closing at 8,383 (up 21 points or 0.25%). NSE recorded a lower volume of 92.07 crore shares. India VIX fell 2.47% to close at 14.4350.

The government unveiled industrial production data for September 2014 today. IIP growth for September 2014 was at 2.5%, compared to 0.4% recorded in the month of August. September IIP was above estimates.

The CPI (consumer price index) inflation stood at 5.52% in the month of October as compared to 6.46% reported in the month of September.

The empowered committee of state finance ministers on goods & services tax (GST) at its meeting held on Tuesday reportedly agreed on the 'place of supply' rules that form the backbone of the proposed GST.

The Petroleum Ministry, in a notification, relaxed rigid timelines prescribed in the production sharing contract (PSC) for development and production of oil and gas.

Bayer CropScience (10.35%) was the top gainer in the ‘A’ group on BSE. The stock hit its 52-week high today. After market hours on Tuesday, the company came out with its September 2014 quarter results. It posted a net profit of Rs 176.10 crore for the September 2014 quarter, compared to Rs 116.50 crore for the September 2013 quarter.


Sales increased from Rs 1,050.40 crore to Rs 1,241.00 crore for the relevant period.

Hindustan Construction (4.49%) was the top loser in the ‘A’ group on BSE. It informed BSE that Lavasa Corporation Limited, its subsidiary, received observation letter from SEBI for its proposed initial public offering of equity shares, for an amount not exceeding Rs 750 crore.

Axis Bank (3.02%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. It hit its 52-week high today. Cipla (3.06%) was the top loser among the Sensex 30 stocks.

US indices closed in the positive on Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business said that its small-business optimism index rose 0.8 points to 96.1 in October, a two-month high.

Philadelphia Fed's President, Charles Plosser, today said US interest rates should be raised "sooner rather than later." In a speech in London, Plosser said rising rates are not inconsistent with a continuing recovery.

Asian indices showed a mixed performance. Shanghai Composite (1%) was the top gainer while Taiwan Weighted (1.28%) was the top loser.

There is a growing anticipation that Japananese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will postpone a planned sales tax hike to avoid damaging a fragile recovery.

European indices were trading in the red. US Futures too were trading lower.


Will Maharashtra discard its RTI application ‘format’?

In a major boost to citizens and activists, a Committee set up by DoPT has recommended that there is no provision in the RTI Act or Rules to make any standard format for applications and so it should be done away with


Many Right to Information (RTI) applicants in Maharashtra and perhaps in other States where a standard format has been laid out by the respective governments face problems if they do not abide by it. Now, however, they are not bound by such a diktat, as a Committee appointed by the Department of Personnel & Training ( DOPT) has made it clear that no such provision (for specific format) exists in the RTI Act.

In the summary of the report issued by DoPT on 11th November, which will soon be circulated to the Public Authorities as guidelines, the Department clearly stated, “There should not be a model/ standard format for reply to the RTI application, as there is no such provision in the RTI Act or the RTI rules.”

The observations/ recommendations of the DoPT appointed Committee, instituted to evolve model format for RTI replies, comprised representatives of the Department, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Central Information Commission (CIC) and was submitted on 29th October.

Similarly, the Committee has recommended that the Public Information Officer (PIO) too need not have any typical format for replying though relevant details should be given in the reply and relevant sections should be quoted in case of denial of information.

After the circular of 17th October in Maharashtra by the state government, regarding, non-disclosure of “personal” details under RTI Act, there has been a lot of confusion and suppressing of information by the PIOs. Now, that this relevant and pro-public guidelines have been uploaded on the DoPT website, one hopes the Maharashtra government would issue a formal note.

Leading RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, says, “The state government, which has been issuing circulars by the dozens on issues like removing Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from the RTI Act or confusing PIOs with the ‘personal’ information circular, should now gracefully make this important pro-people circular known through media and official websites of all public authorities. People are still harassed in case they do not file the RTI application in the required format as has been laid down by the state government.”

RTI activist and research scholar, Venkatesh Nayak though says that the DoPT did not do public consultation, before issuing the note. “The Government has issued guidelines for PIOs on how to reply to RTI applications. Strangely, the Committee comprising of a few government representatives has issued these guidelines without any consultation with others on the supply and demand side of information. While the guidelines are not bad, they are minimalistic. Civil society organisations (CSOs) and activists could have provided better advice to the Committee, if only if they had advertised this Committee's constitution. So much, for compliance with the consultation policy that was announced in January this year.”

Following are the observations of the Committee:

I. There is neither any provision in the RTI Ad or RTI Rules for a model/standard format of RTI application nor any provision for a model/standard format for reply to the RTI applications.

II. Presently, neither any standard practice nor any standard format is being used by the CPIOs in reply to the RTI applications.

In view of the above observations, the Committee has made the following recommendations :

a) There should not be a model/standard format for reply to the RTI application, as there is no such provision in the RTI Act or the RTI rules.

b) Moreover, keeping in view that there is no standard format for RTI applications, there could not be a standard format for their reply.

c) However, the following points can be uniformity adopted by the CPIOs while replying to the RTI applications:

i. The name, designation, official telephone no. and email I.D. of the CPIOs should be clearly mentioned.

ii. In case the information requested for is denied, reasons for denial quoting the relevant sections of the RTI Ad should be clearly mentioned.

iii. In case the information pertains to other public authority and the application is transferred under section 6 (3) of the RTI Act, details of the public authority to whom the application is transferred should be given.

iv. In the concluding para of the reply, there should be clearly mentioned that the First Appeal, if any, against the reply of the CPIO may be made to the First Appellate Authority within 30 days of receipt of reply of CPIO.

v. The name, designation, address, official telephone no. and e-mail I.D. of the First Appellate Authority should also be clearly mentioned.

 vi. Wherever the applicant has requested for certified copies of the documents or records, the CPIO should certify the documents or records by putting a seal of his name, designation and signing with date. Above the seal, the remarks that "documents/records provided under the RTI Act" should be endorsed.

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)



Praveen Sakhuja

2 years ago

I do not find any conveying decision of the panel formed. Such actions clearly convey that government babus are more keen to show their working on subjects. Three men were appointed to meet leaving behind regular job for suggestions. Such task be assigned to third party who do not kill time of government in day to day working. I find Public Authorities do not adhere to implement DoPT orders for suomotto declaration even after its repetitions, then can it be expected that such decisions will be implemented. To prove my charge I place an example of autonomous body under Ministry of Commerce Export Inspection Council that updated its website in September /October 2012 and still holds the same data. No foreign tours under taken are on website. Government should first initiate action against such defaulters by initiating stern action against Public Authorities then should come up with more suggestions. instructions or orders.

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