Ministry’s interaction with public in Local Circles is taking communication to the next level
By now several hundreds of people may have started receiving in their inboxes an e-mail from Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu highlighting the importance of Railways as the ‘backbone of India’s economic development’ and seeking suggestions from rail users to improve the largest transportation and logistics network in the world.
However, it is the Ministry’s interaction with the public in Local Circles, a social media network, which is taking communication to the next level. The latest post addressed to its 1.5 lakh members is the first round of inputs on what could be the focus of Railway Budget 2016-17.
The public can review them and include additional specific inputs. Stating that it is a first set of 14 inputs, the post says that a coach should be reserved for women in all trains and that railway land and quarters should be sold or leased to generate more revenue.
Another is increasing the speed of existing trains in a phased manner and installation of CCTV cameras inside trains and stations.
Food in trains
There is a proposal to rope in bigger names such as Haldirams and Sagar Ratna to improve the quality of food served in trains. Similarly, it proposes to establish basic facilities such as drinking water, waiting room, clean toilets and food stalls at all stations.
Instead of revising fares, a cleaning cess of up to 10 per cent may be imposed in sleeper and higher classes. It has mooted to replace all lights inside trains and stations with LEDs. Suggestions have been sought on more chargeable retiring rooms and constructing them on the upper floors of the stations.
Likewise, package and pilgrimage tours need to be strengthened. The ongoing projects should be reviewed and the ones which could yield profits quickly should implemented on a priority basis.
Modernising the freight system and introduction of online parcel bookings are other things put up for discussion. It also says that Railways should open itself as a medium for extensive advertisements and it should introduce a nationwide cold storage chain service around railway station on public–private participation mode to increase earnings.