A Small Post on Laloo

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Have you looked at Laloo Yadav’s report card ? It’s amazing.

There are many adjectives you immediately associate with Lalu Prasad Yadav — efficient is not usually one of them.

But when the railway minister listed his achievements at the completion of one year of the United Progressive Alliance government, he claimed to have done more than his predecessors.

The Railways had registered a 6 percent growth rate in passenger traffic and 8 percent in freight in 2004-2005, he declared. The average growth rates of traffic and freight in the last two decades have been 3.6 percent and 4 percent respectively.

Lalu said in one year, the turn-around time for wagons came down from the earlier 7.5 days to five days.

Another outstanding achievement, he asserted, was that the number of accidents had come down to 234.

Ticketless travel had come down and was set to plummet further with him as the railway minister, the Rashtriya Janata Dal boss added.

He unveiled a proposal to create a dedicated freight corridor running some 10,000 km.

The minister would like you to know that since 1950, the railways have added only 9,625 km of new lines. He is all set to do more than that in a single project.

Now we all know that ministerial staff juggle with numbers—-just like the US administration, in order to show that manufacturing jobs had not gone down, reclassified jobs in the fast food industry (burger flippers) as “manufacturing”. So when I read the extract above, I knew there was something wrong….someone had changed the base of comparison, done creative classification—–of course these figures could NOT be true.

And then in another section of Capital Buzz, I found an explanation. No this is not magic with numbers but raw truth. Ticketless travel has plumetted and this is why.

As a result, the age-old system of a headquarters quota — a few seats are allotted by the railway minister’s office four hours before the departure of a train — is in total disarray.

Even senior babus no longer rely on the headquarters quota because invariably Lalu’s aides commandeer all such seats in the name of RJD MPs

.

Simple austere logic. Those people who used to go ticketless before now go by headquarter’s quota.

Problem solved. Everyone happy.

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