The Indian Railways has registered its worst performance when it comes to punctuality in the past three years. Almost 30 per cent of the trains were late in the financial year 2017-18, according to official data.
While the year 2015-2016 recorded 77.4 per cent punctuality of trains, the subsequent years have seen a drop in that figure with 76.69% in 2016-17 and 71.39% in 2017-18.
Officials have said that the Railways is facing the punctuality issue due to the maintenance work undertaken on a massive scale. Both mail and express trains have been running behind scheduled time because of over 15 lakh maintenance blocks that were put in 2,687 locations in 2016-17. This rose to 18 lakh in 2017-18 with maintenance work in 4,426 locations.
Sources in the ministry said that Indian Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has told the zonal railway officials it was embarrassing that such delays were happening. According to a report by The Economic Times, Lohani has ordered a 15-day drive to ensure punctuality of trains.
Meanwhile, data shows that the last three years saw a decline in the number of accidents, from 135 in 2014-15 to 107 in 2015-16. This further came down to 104 in 2016-17 and 73 cases were registered in the last fiscal.