Harmony, Chaos and the Chief Administrator.

NEWS REPORT

“The Chief Administrator expressed his disagreement over the committee suggestion that government should appoint the Seniormost Seniors and other key officials over BS-20 for at least three years as consecutive transfers on key posts were affecting the performance of railways. Chief Administrator while showing his reservation over the suggestion said that it would be difficult for him to establish a working relationship with officials over whom he does not have the authority to transfer or replace.”

These Akhbar walas are so unfair. They bring up such petty things to discuss. There are so many important problems in Railways that need our immediate attention, like how many DSs we should have, how to fix engines, arrangements for fuel, more Grade 21 posts (even 22 perhaps) etc etc. And now look at them focussing on non-issues diverting peoples attention from the real problems Railways faces.

I know no one will defend the attack on the opinion of the Chief Administrator, but as I have taken it upon myself to defend all what is good and right in Railways, I’ll give it a go. You see, in Railways, the chain of command is very clear. We are an organization built under the able guidance of Colonel Snickers who modelled us on a military plan. It has served us well since 1870 and it should do so till the next century as well. It’s time tested and proven. Here, we implement. We don’t question, inquire, or think that or this; or in other words we don’t and aren’t required to think at all. We just DO !

And that shows the importance of the Chief Administrator. He posts his best guys at the top who are willing to follow his able and wise guidance. This causes harmony in the ranks and all things go smoothly. Without this people start questioning and start giving their own opinions, and God forbid, start thinking for themselves. So you see, this is not a good thing in an organization that strives to avoid chaos and disharmony. I just wish people would start understanding Railways better and ask us  instead of listening to others who know nothing.

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Postscript to our Very, Very Important meeting.


It was a very good meeting. After many intellectual discussions, deliberations and brainstorming by our esteemed colleagues under the able guidance of our Chief Administrator we decided to put new/latest data in the presentation given in 2007. You see in Railways you can never beat the old. It’s always superior and can never and shouldn’t be changed. The proof is that all our collective wisdom could not find a presentation better than the one given in 2007, which in turn was the same as the one given back in 2004, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1992, 1986, and so on. This glorious tradition stretches back to 1938 when the originating gora of NWR, Colonel Snickers, created this glorious organization. As such, we pay testament to the edicts of history and have made the same plans on the revitalization of Railways ever since then (changed data of course. We’re not that dumb as our seniormost senior often says after meeting the Chief Administrator. God knows what he means when he says that).

 Now we’re going back to Lahore to come back again in a day or two to do the mock-up meeting.


			

On Railway Saloons and Very, Very Important Meetings …

It’s a cold winter morning. Bari tand hai bahir. Islamabad is much colder than Lahore. Today we have all just arrived in Rawalpindi for a very, very important meeting that will decide the ultimate fate of our department. It is a meeting on how to conduct a meeting in the Presidency. As I said, it is very important.

In fact, it is part of the grand strategy under the able and visionary leadership of our seniormost senior and the Chief Administrator of Railways. This meeting will determine how to conduct a meeting in the Presidency. After this meeting another meeting will be held which will be a mock-up of the actual meeting. After the meeting to be held now, a sub- committee of ‘professionals’ will be created to conduct their own meeting on how to hold a meeting in the Presidency. After all this is done, we will hold a mock up meeting on the recommendations of the sub-committee. All the meetings and sub-committee meetings will be held in Islamabad and most of the participants will be coming from Lahore in their saloons as the Chief Administrator has a bad back these days. I hope you have understood this because I’ve forgotten the order of meetings and sub-committee meetings, but what are good stenos for ?

Which brings us to the topic of saloons and how important they are in Railways. You see, if we didn’t have these saloons how difficult it would be to hold these important meetings on fixing Railways ? Since trains are already moving between Lahore and Rawalpindi all the time and all you have to do is attach a saloon which has only two bedrooms, servant quarters (you need to eat too na), lounge, washrooms etc (but I don’t like mine these days because it has a smaller LCD TV than the last one). I was told by someone that it takes Rs.2.5 Lakh for a single saloon to move between Lahore and Rawalpindi but that’s rubbish I tell you because, you know, the train was going to come anyway so what’s the difference?

Now we are 15 officers and each of us have our own saloon and in really bad times we even share one saloon between two officers. So see how easy we are making it? And we get meals and refreshments free too, which reminds me I have to fix the junior there for not getting my servants dry fruits this time. Unforgivable. Three meetings multiplied by 15 plus food in Ministry etc. Just do the calculation how much we save for our department. Imagine those people who spend so much money coming in their cars and even by air!

(P.S. and we hardly get any TA/DA which is so little for senior officers I tell you)

How to be a Rail de Afsar .. (Advice to Faqira)

Nahin Ji, it isn’t so. Faqira, I think I need to give you some advice acquired over decades of selfless and dedicated service in Railways. On joining Rail, I was taught very quickly by my seniors the straight and narrow path of success, which also coincided with my abrupt and unexplainable transfer to Sukkur in the terrible, torturous summer of July 1979.

To be successful you have to have faith in Almighty Allah and accept the situation in life he has presented you with. There is little you can do change things and resisting is pointless. When in the next century or so when we all change then it will be easier. But until then you have to adapt to the circumstances or the consequences will be disastrous.

So I have learnt that it is better to follow the rules and regulations as interpreted by your respected seniors who have far more experience and wisdom acquired over decades of selfless and dedicated service. It is silly to assume that we have more knowledge than they have and they made this department so great, listened to whatever was told to them and resisted very little. Always listen to your seniormost senior, Chief Administrator, MNAs waghera waghera. So, believe me you me, always do as your told by beloved and respected superiors, always understand that law and rules are by nature flexible and open to interpretation (especially by your seniors and most of all politicians), that Railways is best run by just doing what has always been done and treat change with distrust, fear and apprehension. Inshallah, as my example shows, you will achieve the following things if you follow my prescription:

·         Always get a posting of your choice

·         Get a good bungalow even if it isn’t your turn by years

·         Always be respected and enjoy a good reputation among your peers and seniors as a balanced, competent Rail officer

·         Will always have enough money to give your kids a good education, marry then off extravagantly, keep your wife happy by giving her what your neighbors have (which she constantly reminds you of if she doesn’t).

·         Get promotions on time, excellent ACRs and not be superseded, ever.

·         Get foreign trips on priority.

·         Other numerous benefits.

So you see Faqira, it has always been this way and we aren’t World Bank consultants or Babus in the Finance or Planning ministry that we should come up with concrete proposals. We are not pen pushing Babus with fancy angrezi and their studies, but practical field wala people, who are always willing to sit pointlessly in our offices till late hours and run around like headless chickens in the field at odd hours for no apparent reason on the beck and call of superiors. Who are we to question decades of Rail wisdom by using our own creativity to come up with concrete proposals to improve Railways (especially to the Chief Administrator who already is an expert. Hint : look at his successful cinemas). What has always worked will always work. And this is the reason that those who don’t follow this prescription for success are no longer with us like the three chairmans, GMs and chotae officers here and there removed from their positions in the last 12 months alone.

(Shhhhh .. Pissssst  …. Never get too greedy and always cover your tracks).

New entrant to come shortly

 

We shall all retire one day and it will be up to the new crop of young, talented, energetic, competent and even more corru .. ahem .. officers to take up the challenge of further destroying .. I mean developing of Railways. That is why I think we should allow them to express themselves and also do what is good and traditional in this department. That is why Mr. 2 number is going to contribute to this page occasionally. Please listen to him carefully as he is the future of our department and he needs our support. He has my full support and his views are my views. After all he represents the future of our glorious organization.

Seniormost senior de speech

This is speech of our seniormost senior. I encourage all to follow (content in brackets not included)

“We are all Railway officers. We should all work together with dedication, hard work and professionalism for the betterment of our department under the able guidance of our seniors. Inshallah we will surpass all obstacles and restore PR to it’s former glory. We shouldn’t be discouraged by skeptics and pessimists, but remain positive and (wait for it, it’s coming again) be professionals to help our department be a efficient, ‘good’ government department and Inshallah we’ll all retire in Grade 21 (after creating lots of useless 21 grade posts).

Locos have made everybody loco !

Very depressing news. People just want to criticize for the sake of criticize, not realizing the reputation of those they criticize. Everybody just wants to sink us further and further into the mud.

I saw a program on TV with that loud mouth former minister and so called railway experts (all usually frustrated ex railway walas who call themselves honest but actually are cowards). And if they aren’t there themselves I know who they are, pulling the strings behind the scenes. Yes you know what the topic is. It’s the locomotives. I want to clarify lots of stuff. Muft main hum badnaam howe hain. We Railway walas have to stick to together. Together we rise and fall. Therefore, I’m going defend all of us for want of anyone to have the guts to do so.

Locomotives are like any piece of machinery. They need to be cleaned, fixed and maintained. Now we can’t help that. Money has to be spent on them. It’s not our fault that Railways has billions of rupees of machinery to be maintained? Haina ? You agree? It’s so simple. That’s when I don’t understand what people are so confused about. The army walas have problems too. They build tanks and shells go right through their turrets but still we Railway walas have to take all the flak.

Yes I know that they say that Chinese locos had bad this and that and the carriages were too wide for platforms, but yar, machinery main kabhi kabhi problems hotae hain so what’s the big deal? Don’t you have to take your car to the mechanic occasionally? So it’s the same damn thing! And the Chinese are so very nice. Every year they take dozens of officers and staff and give pocket money and treat them so well without expecting ANYTHING in return and they are the eternal friends and brothers of our homeland. People who criticize should be ashamed of themselves.And why buy American and German technology? Yes I know they are time tested in our conditions, reliable and cheaper over the long run but so what? China will be the new superpower and yes their stuff isn’t that good but they make it up with so many other good qualities. We can’t overlook them either, can we?

So we need locomotives urgently. It’s true we had more than five hundred not so long ago and now we have barely a hundred. So how can Railways work with less than a hundred? Our Chief Administrator’s right when he says we just need 400 to 500 billion rupees on 400 locomotives and everything will be A ok. God bless him. He knows our problems so well. All the government has to do is to ask the state bank walas to print more money. It’s so damn easy but the government has had it in for Railways for no apparent reason. It’s that Finance minister. The sooner he goes the better.

The dirty oil in locomotives business is all wrong too. It’s been going on for so long lekin nobody said anything. Abhi inko khyaal aya ? And what do we do when we have no proper oil to use? We can’t say to the chorman or Chief Administrator that we have to stop running trains because we can’t use a little dirty oil? They’ll have our necks if we said that. Kaam bhi chalana hota hain (not like those so called honest officers who are of little use in such situations), and we can’t allow ourselves to be transferred all the time, so compromises are necessary in jobs just as in life, like I had to admit betaa in Columbia instead of Harvard because of the high fees. You have to adjust to the economic hardships of the times. Rupee has fallen flat against the dollar you know.

I have some more to say about locomotives you know. We have so many useless critics to bother us. I’ll meet the mechanical walas and see what more they say about it.

First Clarification Please

People have been calling us bad names recently. I don’t like this. It isn’t fair really. I mean, queuing up us like ordinary people, and then calling us that word in front of everyone in the Supreme Court in front of the whole world to see and hear! How horrible. We’re not used to such things you see as we always remain hidden, so it’s very disturbing. I have so many weddings to attend these days and betaa is coming from England for his engagement. Can you imagine all the questions people will ask? After all those silly questions about the sinking ship of Railways (in Urdu) that we are asked the moment we say we’re Railway officers, we’ll also be asked about the irresponsible remarks of Chief Justice. It’s not fair I tell you. It’s so unfair.

We are just ordinary people with ordinary concerns. After all, just like everybody else, we have our needs. Is it too much ask to have a decent, ordinary house in Defense and have your children have a guzaare haal education in England or America? It’s not really fair, for that’s all we ask for and then we have to hear such rubbish and unjust stuff that gives us such a bad name in society. Imagine, my children will have to face embarrassing questions over how I got them their new GLI or why they go every day to college in their Abba’s sarkari car? I mean, for goodness sake, what’s the big deal?

Therefore, I think the record needs to be set straight. All these silly rumour mongers haven’t heard the whole side of the story after all. And none of them know what the ESTACODE and CSS and Engineering is all about.

It’s the officers that keep Railways on track. Without them everything would go haywire. Trains would spin off in other directions and buildings would fall. Officers are the cement that keeps the Railways together. We’re indispensable. The MBA and private corporate walas have no stakes. They don’t have to stay in this department forever. For them it’s just another job. We have to stay here till 60 and then after that in very, very important positions in our sister institutions like PRACS and RAILCOP. We’re really indispensable you know, but people just don’t know that. So all this rubbish talk here and there, and these news channels that are all competing for ratings shouldn’t be listened to. I mean don’t people have anything else to do that talk about other than Railways ? Farigh qom hai yar.

And what about those DMG walas and Ministers? I mean, they all come with questionable intentions and then we have to take all the flak ? Yes I know what’s going to be said that we all say yes to WHATEVER they say but what else can one do when you’re a bureaucrat in this country? How are we going to face these big shots and expect each and every one to face them? I mean, they’ll transfer us in a jiffy and then we’ll be in big trouble. This corruption thing is a non-issue too. I mean, we don’t do the big stuff lekin gar ka kharcha bhi thora bohat challana hota hain? We don’t really do much harm by doing it and we’re professionally sound and run things properly. It’s just those self-righteous people, who aren’t hard workers, kisi ka kaam ke bhi nahin hotain, and either too scared to do anything themselves ya chance nahin milta. You know, we don’t like such people and it’s not our fault either that they are sidelined except when some silly principled guy becomes minister or chairman.

I think it’s necessary to present our side of the story from time to time, you know. And I know others are too scared to do so because of the ESTACODE rubbish. So I’ll be writing off and on, you know, to makes things clearer as to why Railways is in such bad shape, and more importantly, why it’s not really our fault.

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