Recent reports published on Youth Ki Awaaz and India Today talked about the increase in delay times in Indian Railways. The reports were based on the unofficial data of around 3000 trains provided by www.trainsuvidha.com. The site included the number of trips made by the trains and the average number of times they were delayed. This data had been fetched from private sources and compiled since 2014 till date, for the months of January, February, and March. These months were chosen because most of the time our government blames weather conditions such as fog to justify train delays. After the article on India Today, our Union Railway Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu, took notice and asked railway officials to look into it.
On March 9, 2017, I took a train from Delhi to my native place, Ballia. My train was supposed to leave at 3:10 pm but got delayed and rescheduled by six to seven hours. I brushed off this incident but then my train got delayed again by 12 hours until I finally reached my station. The same incident was repeated when I was returning to New Delhi. This made me feel disappointed with our railway system and that is how the idea of www.trainsuvidha.com was born. Of course, this alone isn’t enough. Indian Railway still needs to go a long way. After discussing the issue with my peers, we hit upon other essential amenities which may play a vital role in improving the Indian railway system. So here are four basic amenities which I urge the Union Railway Minister to think about:
At present we get the information about seat reservations, confirmations, waiting lists, etc through an SMS. In the same manner, we should also get an alert about train delays or any other relevant information which may affect our journey. This is even more essential and convenient for travellers when a large number of trains are getting delayed.
Travellers with Indian Railways are punished or charged for every mistake, like travelling without a ticket, not possessing a platform ticket, etc. Similar rules should also be applied in favour of the travellers. Compensation should be given to travellers whose trains are running late for more than a limited period of time. Many travellers bear losses like not being able to attend to medical emergencies or missing a day of work or an exam or maybe an important event. Our Railway Ministry must provide some kind of relief for a consumer’s loss.
It’s no secret that the number of trains is fewer than the number of travellers in Indian Railways. It is still difficult for the underprivileged to get reservations, and sometimes people also travel in the general compartment due to a lack of reserved seats. Our ministers must know about the decrepit conditions of general compartments: people keep standing at the doors or even inside washrooms while travelling long distances. This is a serious threat to a passenger’s safety: people are not even able to use the washrooms and some people see it as a chance to molest fellow women travellers.
Railways are known as the lifeline of India because they are an affordable and accessible mode of transport. But for people working away from their native homes or those who just want a vacation, planning a journey four months in advance is difficult. During the festival season, many people are unable to meet their families because they are not able to get reservations. This state of affairs is also exploited by shoddy travel agents to earn big profits.
If you feel that this state of affairs should change, please sign this petition.