Ashwani Lohani is known for 'go getter attitude' in the railway ministry

Prabhu takes'moral responsibility for train accidents offers to resign

The Narendra Modi government on Wednesday appointed Ashwani Lohani as the new Chairman of Railway Board.

Holder of a Limca record, Lohani is an IRSME (Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers) officer. His resignation was tendered to Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Suresh Prabhu in a tweet said that he took the moral responsibility of the train accidents in the meeting with PM Modi. The extension was cleared by the Prime Minister's Office.

On August 19, over 20 passengers died and 97 were injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed near Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh.

The government has come under pressure after a series of accidents, including a derailment on Wednesday morning that injured scores of passengers.

The new Railway Board Chairman, Ashwani Lohani has previously served as DRM in Delhi Division. He has also been appointed ex-officio Principal Secretary to the Government of India. For that, you have to go back all the way to 1956 when Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Railway Minister, resigned after taking moral responsibility for a train accident in Tamil Nadu which caused 150 deaths. He was decorated with the railway national award for outstanding performance in 1996. It was because of his initiatives that the Fairy Queen, the world's oldest steam engine, was run on Indian tracks, setting the Guinness world record in 1998.

A qualified mechanical engineer, who also has degrees in electrical, metallurgical and electronics and telecommunication streams, Lohani is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Currently, the board has 10 members excluding Lohani.

Ministry sources said there was "high drama" after Mital's resignation, with board members requesting him to reconsider his decision.

Mital, who previously headed three major railway zones - Southern Railway, South Central Railway and Central Railway as general manager - felt the action against the officials "affected the morale of the seniors".

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