Thursday, October 17, 2013

What will new Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar bring, rain or sunshine?

AFTER months-long twists and turns in the race for Indian Railways’ top job, Member (mechanical) and acting chairman, Arunendra Kumar, was on Wednesday named as full-time chairman of the Railway Board. A 1976 batch officer belonging to Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), Kumar claims that he holds a record of the longest…
Live TV interview by a railway officer on a national TV channel. BoI reviewed the Sahara Samay’s one-hour long show where Kumar, then a divisional railway manager based out of Mumbai, talked about railways’ preparedness amid incessant rain in the financial capital, and also explained what does his name, Arunendra, actually mean. The anchor was thrilled to hear that Arunendra is a combination of rain (Indra) and sunshine (Arun).
The question is: will Arunendra Kumar be able to bring sunshine to the Railway Board that got mired by a series of corruption charges beginning with the CBI arresting Member (Staff) Mahesh Kumar in a bribery case. It was believed that Mahesh Kumar wanted to get shifted to a more lucrative post, Member (Electrical), once incumbent Kul Bhushan, the senior most member of the Board, becomes its chairman. But the plan did not work out. Bhushan himself was eliminated from the race after he was named in a preliminary inquiry by the CBI.
The story did not end there. The railways have failed to select the right man to head its Board after Vinay Mittal retired as chairman on June 30, 2013. While Arunendra Kumar was made acting chairman, the searches began to spot the right person to be named as Railway Board's full-time chairman.
North East Frontier Railway’s General Manager RS Virdi then became the top contender for the job, but he too was eased out after the Central Vigilance Commission found that Virdi got minor penalties in a 10-year-old case. His name was earlier cleared by the vigilance watchdog when he was
considered for the post of Member (Electrical) in February this year.
Meanwhile, another contender AK Mittal, who is South Western Railway’s General Manager, found himself in a peculiar position when a confidential letter reportedly written by outgoing chairman Vinay Mittal, claimed that his performance was not up to the mark.
Finally, Arunendra Kumar became the full-time chairman of the Board. Before becoming a member in Railway Board, Kumar was general manager in Bilaspur-headquartered South East Central Railway (SECR) during 2011-2013. He was also the in-charge of maintenance of locomotives, coaches and wagons over a career of more than 35 years both in workshops and open line, a railway statement issued on Wednesday said.
Kumar attended advanced management and training programmes in Paris, Germany, South Korea, China, Switzerland, Canada, Namibia.
Kumar is an outstanding athlete, and loves to play badminton.


  1. Dear editor, kindly note that Mr. Kumar served as the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Mumbai Division and not as deputy regional manager as mentioned. In fact, there is no post going by that name anywhere in railway administration.

    1. It was a mistake on our part. We have corrected it. Error is regretted.

  2. is the trains run by natinal news interview so thats should not be the criteria for selecting CRB.

  3. No such confidential letter was issued to Shri A K Mittal. This time the ACC (read PMO) decided to favour someone who was otherwise not eligible only to keep an officer from the IRSS (Stores Service) out of the top post. Incidentally Shri Virdi's candidature was stymied by none other than Shri Kumar himself when he was the Member Mechanical. This fact is also well known to CVC and the PMO. Strange are the ways of this government. With the subsequent posting of FC also, again against established norms, it is anybody's guess as to what rules would be followed in future. Perhaps, Might will always be Right in Railway postings.

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