There comes a time when we often question whether the things that are happening around are real or a figment of our imagination. The latest decision by the Indian Railway Board to improve the passenger experience is one such incident. It is times like these that I wonder whether our Government officials are intentionally thick or just plain stupid.
The Railway Board has launched Project Swarn. This is a project that they’ve been working on to improve the passenger experience. They will be certifying the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi trains on 29 different routes.
With the thousands of passengers using the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi trains across India, it’s essential to pay a great focus to such trains. However, the timing is at fault. Why? Find out below.
How does it work?
The passengers traveling in the AC coaches will all be given tablets by the railway staff. The passengers will be asked to provide ratings on various things. Some of the parameters are the quality of linen, catering, toilets and the behavior of the staff. This will then be concluded by Piyush Goyal, the newly-appointed Railway Minister announcing the best trains as part of Project Swarn on September 25, 2017.
There will be a total of 29 different routes in which the Railway Board will certify both the trains. The Rajdhani runs on 14 routes whereas the Shatabdi runs on 15 routes. The three different routes of Rajdhani and one Shatabdi route are operated by the Western Railways. The Central Railways runs one route of Shatabdi under the Project Swarn.
How is the Project supposed to work?
IRCTC officials have said that they will procure 25 tablets which will be used by the staff to obtain feedback. The feedback will be uploaded on to the system automatically. The system of feedback is quite simple. The passengers can give any rating between 1 to 5. However, if the rating is below 3 then they will be asked sub-questions on the scope of improvement. There are nine teams of two members each who will collaborate with the 17 railway zones. The process is as simple as finding your train on National Train Enquiry System platform. Trusted sources say that there can be a maximum of Rs. 50 lakh spent on renovating a single rake.
Is Project Swarn Bad?
You might be wondering if Project Swarn is bad considering the tone in the first paragraph. It’s not, it’s really not. Well, Project Swarn is aimed at increasing passenger comfort. All the passengers in the AC coaches will be asked for a review. The parameters such as onboard cleanliness, security, entertainment, and so on are crucial for comfort. But, is this the right time? I don’t think so.
While there has been an immense increase of derailments in the past decade, the Railway’s last concern should be passenger satisfaction. With bigger things like fixing the railway tracks and the train coaches, the Railways should think twice before investing in projects like Swarn.
Project Swarn is great for increasing customer satisfaction and labeling the best trains in the country. However, it would’ve been more sensible if the Railway Board considered the undernourished tracks and the underinvested amenities of the Indian Railways before launching such useless projects.
With the number of train accidents increasing, the Railway Board should first consider investing in repairing and renovating the railway tracks and the trains before launching projects like The Bullet Train Project or the Project Swarn.
These projects are of no use to the common man. If we do look at the Project Swarn, we notice that only the passengers in the AC coaches are reviewed regarding the cleanliness and comfort. Does this mean that the opinion of those traveling in the sleeper or general class isn’t worth the trouble? Why is the Indian Railways segregating the passengers? Why is spending so much money on projects that are of no use to the common man while there is a dire need for investment in repairing the tracks and the coaches?
The officials have to answer these questions along with the many questions the public has. This is a democracy and we, as citizens of a democratic and independent state need answers. Stay tuned to Fsi.org.in for all the latest updates. Comment below your thoughts on the Railway’s decisions.