ARTICLES
Shape of Laloo trains to come

ENCOURAGED by the success of the kulhar experiment, Rail Mantri Laloo Prasad Yadav is believed to be toying with the idea of bringing about several other revolutionary changes.

Senior railway officials have been told to explore the possibility of removing all engines and pulling trains with the help of bullocks instead. This will give employment to thousands of bulls and their keepers. Fodder for the animals will be provided by the Rail Mantri himself.

To save precious foreign exchange, railway coaches will be made in Chapra with the help of mud and cowdung. There will be no berths. Everyone will sit or sleep on the floor. Instead of the present capacity of 74, each of the 21st century coaches will accommodate 740 passengers, plus 1,480 on the roof.

These coaches will be lit by diyas and lanterns, thus helping the cottage industry. Since there will be no ACs or fans, windows and doors will be dispensed with and passengers will enjoy invigorating fresh air. First-class passengers will be provided manual ceiling pankhas with one end of the rope tied to their toes which they will operate themselves.

Pantries are also likely to undergo a change. Food will be cooked on chulhas and angithis. Everyone will eat daal, bhaat and gur laid out on banana leaves while sitting on the floor. Those desirous of fast food can cook their own khichri.

It is Rail Mantralaya’s endeavour to provide all services in-house. Besides mineral water, the department will also bottle mahuwa, taadi and bhang beverages.

To tackle the menace of ticketless travel in Lalooji’s home state, all Biharis will be issued free lifetime railway passes. Ticket checkers thus relieved will do social service at 1 Anne Marg.

The Railways will discontinue the publication of timetables. It is wasteful to spend so much money on them just because a handful of elite, educated people can calculate how much a train is running late.

An exercise is also on to find whether railway stations can be dispensed with altogether. Passengers will be free to pull the chain wherever they have to get down or board a train, as is the custom in Bihar. This will fulfil Lalooji’s dream of bringing trains to “aam admi’s” doorstep.

Superfluous rail zones made by previous Railway Ministers will be abolished. The entire country will be divided into just two zones. Both will have headquarters in Patna — one at the house of Laloo Yadav and the other at that of Sadhu Yadav.

Another successful Bihar model is sought to be tried out all over the country. Since the state has eradicated metalled roads, experiments are being carried out to find out whether it is at all necessary to run trains on tracks. Efforts are simultaneously being made to identify persons to whom sleepers and girders thus freed can be sold as scrap.

To make sure that the reforms are implemented promptly, the Rail Mantri will travel in trains incognito, disguised as Hema Malini.


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