Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has become social media’s new favourite.
It seems Prabhu has taken a leaf out of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s book. Swaraj has set the bar high as she has consistently helped people who have tweeted to her.
Now, Prabhu through his Twitter handle and the Indian railways Twitter account has taken the meaning of ‘helping out’ to a new level.
Stuck in a train for hours on Thursday somewhere between Allahabad and Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, Satyendra Yadav had no idea how to pacify his 18-month-old baby. The baby was crying inconsolably after not getting milk for a long time.
He then tweeted Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu, asking for help.
On Thursday, Yadav tweeted his predicament to Prabhu, “Train kafi late hai. Mere 18-mahine ke bachche ko doodh chahiye (The train is running late. My 18-month-old child needs milk),” he tweeted.
The minister tweeted back, asking for his mobile number and assuring all help.
“As the train was passing through Allahabad division of North Central Railway (NCR), Prabhu spoke to NCR general manager and divisional railway manager of Allahabad division. Though there was no scheduled stoppage at Fatehpur, arrangements were made to halt the train there for about two minutes,” said NCR chief public relation officer Bijay Kumar.
Following this, the station master of Fatehpur station provided the family with food when the train arrived there.
The incident comes close on the heels of a group of hungry students aboard the delayed Kumbha Express from Dehradun to Howrah tweeting their plight to Prabhu. The train was diverted for maintenance work and had no pantry car.
At 7 pm, the travellers tweeted Prabhu, telling him the seat details and phone numbers. Within 2 hours, at Varanasi station, railway officials had arranged for concessional food and drinks for the students.
In another incident, Suresh Prabhu helped another lady passenger on a train who reported to the ministry on Twitter that she was in distress. On 26 November, Namrata Mahajan who was travelling on an outbound train in Maharashtra tweet to the Ministry of Railways’ twitter handle seeking help when a male passenger was harassing her.
The Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil took notice of the tweet and immediately responded seeking information about the train and she was asked asked to contact the security helpline 182.
Namrata had a reserved ticket on a crowded train, when she approached the boy sitting in her seat to move, he yelled at her and left the compartment, after which the boy’s father along with the boy came into the compartment and hurled abuses at her.
“The man was going to slap me, I did not know what to do, I tweeted to the Ministry for help and got a response in a minute,” she said. She also said that the (boy’s family members) told her, “tumhe bahar phenk denge (we will throw you out)” Namrata had made calls to 139 but since it was an automated response, she had no expectations.
She felt that she could get a quicker response through Twitter. And, she did.
The Railway officials also help people find their lost mobile phones. Shri Sanjay Rathi tweeted to Railway Ministry that he has forgotten his mobile in Train no.14660 and sought help for retrieving his phone. The Railway Ministry quickly responded within minutes and traced his phone. The relevant tweets are given below.
On 1 December, Pankaj Jain who was travelling on the Yesvantpur-Bikaner train with his father on Sunday requested for a wheelchair by tweeting to the railway ministry and the minstry responded asked for the train’s PNR and coach number to make suitable arrangements.
And, this is what happened:
The Railway Minister has been effectively using the power of social media to help the passengers during emergencies. This has been widely appreciated by travelling public.