The man Mamata Banerjee chose to run the railways happens to be a certified pilot. Additional oddities abound in the case of Dinesh Trivedi.
He is a politician with an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin, USA. He is a Gujarati who sold his business to pursue a career in public life. He is an accomplished sitarist, with no less than Shujaat Husain Khan, son of Ustad Vilayat Khan, and Nishat Khan, son of the legendary surbahar exponent Ustad Imrat Khan , as gurus. He also designs his own kurtas.
Question is can a pilot run the railways. Trivedi knows he has his task cut out. The railways’ recent history is littered with a string of disasters. Its abject finances have come under increased scrutiny. The railways is also in dire need of modernisation.
“The first thing I need to do is to communicate with 16 lakh employees of the railways and tell them clearly that safety of travellers should be their primary objective,” he says.
Trivedi, 61, plans to introduce fourth generation reforms and new technologies. “We need an engine that looks like a cockpit of an aircraft and the station like an airport,” he says. He will have to take a radical departure from the way his party boss and mentor, Mamata Banerjee ran the railways. Funds, tracks, signaling systems and safety are issues that can’t be wished away or dealt with by playing to the gallery.
Trivedi is also counting on divine intervention to come to his aid. “I have always considered god to be a friend.” “Trivedi has a very clean image and that is possibly the reason why Banerjee has selected him to head the Railway ministry,” said a Kolkata-based friend of his.
Trivedi, who in the 1970s had worked with many US companies, including a ‘dream job’ with Detex Company of Chicago in 1974, returned to India in 1976. “I like a few things about the US. But I never wanted a green card,” he says.
Like his predecessor and leader Banerjee, Trivedi says a lot has to be done to improve the railway system in West Bengal to improve connectivity. “Bengal has been long neglected. All the railway projects for Bengal will be implemented on time,” he says. “But don’t worry. I will also see that connectivity improves across the country,” he adds. Economic Times