This is with reference to "IIM-A awaits Lalu's turnaround story" (

Business Line

, August 31): In its over 150-year history the Indian Railways has never been in the red. Moreover, from 1993 to 1995 it had the lowest operating ratio of 82.3 per cent.

Undoubtedly, earnings in 2005-06 are a record, contributed mainly by two factors. First, legalising overloading of wagons, for which now the Railways can claim higher payments. And second, the general increase in economic activity, which could easily account for 70 per cent of the increased earnings.

No doubt, Mr Lalu Prasad had rightly brought in an officer on special duty who took pains to study the overall working of the system and push through reforms and vital changes long overdue.

Yet there are miles to go before this behemoth becomes effective in providing transportation at the lowest possible unit cost, and gains higher market share.

R. C. Acharya

Former Member (Mechanical), Railway Board

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 6, 2006)
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