Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani retired on Monday, despite strong indications that the Narendra Modi government could grant him an extension.
General Manager, South Central Railway, V K Yadav has been appointed the national transporter's senior-most bureaucrat by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, according to an official order.
Yadav belongs to the 1980 batch of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers. He started his career as an assistant electrical engineer in February, 1982.
Lohani was appointed chairman of the Railway Board after A K Mital resigned in August last year following the derailment of the Kaifiyat Express near Auriya in Uttar Pradesh.
A 1980-batch officer of the railways’ mechanical service, Lohani featured in the Limca Book of Records in 2007 for having four “engineering degree equivalents” in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, metallurgical engineering and electronics & telecommunication engineering from Institution of Engineers, India.
He also set a Guinness World Record in 1998 for operating the oldest working steam locomotive in the world.
Lohani successfully piloted the nomination of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway as a UNESCO world heritage site. He was decorated with the railway national award for outstanding performance in 1996.
Soon after taking over, he had said that safety and station modernisation would be his priority along with cleanliness, eradication of VIP culture and corruption.
During his tenure, Lohani managed to create a direct link between the railways' top bosses in Delhi and employees on the ground. He is credited with empowering officers at the divisional and zonal level.
Lohani took over at a time when two back-to-back accidents shook the railways. Under him, the national transporter achieved its best safety record in 35 years -- at 73 accidents. The year 2017-2018 had recorded 100 accidents.