NEW DELHI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- India has for the first time decided to sack in one go some 13,000 railway employees who are on "unauthorized" leave for a long time.
The state-owned Indian Railways said that it has already identified and also initiated disciplinary action against those absentee employees to terminate their services, a move aimed at sprucing up its performance and giving encouragement to sincere staffers.
"A massive drive to identify long-term absentees in various establishments of Railways has been initiated. As a result of the drive, more than 13,000 employees of 1.3 million employees were found to be on unauthorized absence for a long time," the Railways said in a statement.
A senior Indian Railway official said Saturday that the organization has instructed all its officers and supervisors to stuck off absentee employees from the rolls after following the due official process.
"Supervisors have been asked to keep a tab on the performance of the employees also. The Railways is going through a major transformation, be it its infrastructure or work culture," he said.
The Indian Railways is one of the world's largest train networks, criss-crossing the country from north to south. It operates some 9,000 passenger trains and carries nearly 23 million passengers every day.
This vast public enterprise can be referred to as a semi-state. It runs schools, hospitals, has it own police force and construction companies, and has 1.3 million people on its payroll, making it the seventh biggest employer in the world.
However, train disasters are quite common in India as much of the colonial-era rail infrastructure is out of date. A number of people are killed in train accidents, mostly derailments, across the country every year.
In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government pledged 137 billion U.S. dollars over five years to modernize and expand the railways.