Ashwani Lohani, CMD of Air India, has been named the Chairman of the Railway Board following the resignation of A.K. Mital. The move comes after former Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mital tendered his resignation on 22 August 2017 evening. Sources said he resigned owing moral responsibility of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailment in Uttar Pradesh on 26 August 2017 evening due to several lapses in the track maintenance work.
Mr. Lohani, who holds four engineering degrees, has authored two books (one on steam engines and the other on management) and is credited with the turnaround of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and the India Tourism Development Corporation.
According to sources, Mr. Mital, a Principal Secretary-level officer, had sent his resignation to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 22 August 2017. His resignation came two days after the Railway Ministry decided to send Railway Board Member Engineering and Secretary-level officer Aditya Kumar Mittal on leave holding him responsible for the Utkal Express train accident at Khatauli railway station near Muzaffarnagar that had killed at least 21 passengers and injured over 80 people.
Mr. Lohani, an Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) cadre had served as DRM, Delhi Division; Director, National Rail Museum; and Chief Administrative Officer, Rail Alternate Fuel. He holds the Guinness Record for successfully running the ‘Fairy Queen Express’, the world’s oldest working steam locomotive.