As we all know that ‘Indian Railways’ is fourth largest Railway in the world and largest public transport carrier in our country also known as “Life line of India”. It is amazing to know that the total distance covered by Indian Railways every day equals three & half times the distance to moon. Indian Railways has about 14,300 trains and over 7,000 railway stations with track of about 63,028 route kilometres with about 1.60 million people as its employs, carrying over 13 million passengers and over 1.3 million tonnes of freight every day. As we all knew that Rail travel is known for its comfortable journey, economy & affordability and moderately fast mode of transport and also comparatively safer than other economical modes of transport. Because of these prime reasons millions of people prefer to travel by train. The comparative analysis of other mode of transport will substantiate this claim.
As we all knew that Air transport being the fastest mode of travel, it is expensive as the operational costs of the air lines and infrastructure for air connectivity is very high. Due to the higher cost, this mode of transport is mostly meant the higher income group, as it is certainly not within the reach of the common persons in India being the country with more than two thirds population belongs to middle class and Below Poverty Line for which Air travel is a sheer luxury. The air travel is mostly patronized by the individuals as well as the family members of netas (Politicians), babus (Bureaucrats), takedars (Contractors) and Business Persons and the Business house Employees, most of them directly or indirectly at the cost of public money i.e at the cost of common man, as mostly the cost of travel is paid by either the exchequer or mostly corrupt money, also due to the reason that travel expenditure in the business income is not taxable. But it is a fact to know/ admit that air connectivity is a sign of progressive development of the nation as it attracts lot of business investment, which means lot of employment generation, more number of tourists across the globe travelling for various reasons generating lot of revenue and employment in the regions directly or indirectly (Ref: 1***).
If we look into common mode of transport i.e road transport which is ideal for short distances as far as the passenger transport is concerned because we all know that condition of roads most places in the country are known for their roughness, bumpy, patches, unfinished, and mostly prone to accidents due to maintenance failure of the vehicles, due to human errors as drivers may not be that skilled and prone to various habits like smoking, chewing pan/gutka, consumption of alcohol while driving, drowsing in night driving due to fatigue. All the above reasons make it clear that road journey for long distances are risky, sometimes unsafe journeys. Also most of the long journeys are very time consuming and tedious for the passengers as well. It is a fact that many state governments and also to some extent central government allocation of funds for construction, up-gradation of the roads is not encouraging due various reasons as national highways are built by Central government and State highways are built by state highways. It is an open secret as was stated in many survey reports that roads building and highway in-fracture sector having highest scope for corruption in the country resulting in poor conditions of the roads to add to this vulnerability most state transport departments are known for their corrupt practices in issuing fitness certificates for transport of vehicles even though vehicles are not in perfect motorable condition (Ref: 2***).Keeping in view of the risks and difficulties mentioned in road transport and air transport, Indian railways is the only alternative to all modes of passenger transport, as such it is being patronized over 13 million people preferring to travel by railways.
As we all know that Government of India has a separate Ministry to run the railways which has a board Indian Railways, have a separate budget for the railways to the tune of 2 lack core Rs. The budget is mainly for the running and maintaining the existing railway facilities like rail stations, railway lines, rail locos and also for expansion of rail lines, construction, up gradation of the Rail stations, manufacturing of railway wagons for goods/passenger.
As stated the 16 lakh employees in the railway includes technical, non technical, administration, skilled, semi skilled and unskilled workers working round the clock to serve the best to the people of the country. The major income from the railways comes from the goods transport sector, but the main purpose of the railway is to serve the public by providing public carrying from several destinations coveting a travelling length of over 1 cr kilometres touching over seven thousand Rail Stations. In order to facilitate the convenience to the individual passengers to make their travel hassle free Indian Railways has made a facility to reserve the seat to travel by making their travel booking in advance, railway board operates thousands of railway reservation centres in different places covering from small towns to metro cities in the country, apart from the facility of the online computer reservation facility allowing individuals to make reservation from any place any time.
In spite of the maximum efforts from the railway board to facilitate for the best operation without causing inconvenience to the passengers by improving the facilities and increasing the number of locos and number of wagons (passenger coaches) to meet the demand of passenger travel, it is a fact that still there is a long gap between the existing facilities especially the demand for availability of seats for passenger travel due to shortage of rail coaches as well as rail locos due to various reasons. As a result there exists a long waiting lists in passenger reservation for travel in most of the sectors, especially during vacation seasons for the schools, colleges, universities, and more particularly during festive seasons reasons and also in weekends as many people travelling from cities to small towns mostly employees thanks to countries economic liberalisation and development activities creating employment opportunities taking place across the country.
In order to facilitate the travel by train in case of urgencies and emergency situation for individuals travel due to non availability of confirmed seats due to advanced reservation of seats, Indian Railway board has created a facility called Emergency Quota in the passenger reservation system, extended to public servants and public representatives like MLA/MP and to the common public to avail this facility through the above persons, EQ to be released on certain criteria making travel by train to reach the destinations in moderately quick and economical way. The emergency situations includes attending the medical needs, tragedy in the family or relatives or tragedy due to natural calamities, or for service persons like military, police and some government persons attending their sudden/ emergency duties in the interest of the people of the country. This facility is extended to public representatives like MLA and MP for their individual use and also for the benefit of the common public who elected the representative, who can approach them with request for urgency of travel in railway to be forwarded by the MP/MLA to the railway authority for extending reservation for that particular passenger/s perform travel to fulfil his/her need in emergency situation.
But it is an OPEN SECRET that the EQ facility (emergency quota) has been mis utilised by some of eligible people irrespective of the protocol as per the railway reservation EQ knowingly or un knowingly, also mostly mis-utilised by organised people with vested interests comprising of some employees of railways, some travel agents some middle men. In the country the numbers of public representatives are 790 MP’s and 4120 MLA’s from 28 states and 7 union territories and 452 MLC’s from 6 states. Statistics shows that daily over 130 lack people are travelling in railways with substantial number of seats are en marked and need to reserve in advance. Due to the shortage of available number of seats in the trains many people who plans to travel unplanned irrespective of their social status are in search of MLA/MP/ Officials/ Touts and managing to get avail the EQ facility through some sources & means even though their travel is not having any urgency/any emergency need, sometimes people in real emergencies who cannot afford to travel by air, and road journey make take much longer than Train journey has to depend on EQ has no other option left except to approach the above mentioned. It is a fact that EQ facility mostly in the name of MP/MLA has been mis-utilised by some organised people with vested interests. Due to demand for seats is more than available, coupled with people’s desperateness/urgency to travel in the trains, the EQ facility becoming a major source of income for some railway agents, touts and probably some staff of the railways, causing utter inconvenience to the common passenger as in case of non existence of EQ requests, or the seats marked for EQ remain vacant due to non eligible passenger requests in that train then the seats marked for EQ can be distributed to Reserved passengers with Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) and Wait listed status passengers.
The existing prevailing system of EQ facility has been defeated/ degraded the spirit of EQ system for lack of leak proof, systematic approach and failure to identify the bonafidness of the request of the EQ requesting authority as well as the need of urgency of the passenger to avail the EQ, accountability of the EQ recommendation authority, as it is an open secret that majority of EQ requesting passengers doesn’t fit / eligible for the EQ release criteria, and also partly due to the discretion of the railway EQ authorities not being used properly. As such, there is an urgent need to fix these shortcomings/lacunas of the railway EQ system by fixing the drawbacks/malady, through technology by creating an automation system of EQ realise facility, enforcing all EQ requesting authorities to follow a uniform requesting procedure with mandatory accountability regarding the request whether the request is genuine by mandatory mention of the propose of the travel of the EQ seeking passenger. Also the new system should reducing/minimizing the desecration of the railway EQ staff, also should eliminate the burden on the railway staff.
In order to fix the issue of mis utilization of the railway EQ facility there should be a common single format for the request for EQ by the eligible EQ requesting parties, similar to the railway reservation form containing the name/ all names of the passenger/s, PNR, origination and destination of travel, phone number and/or residence address the EQ seeking passenger belong to his constituency or outsider by providing mandatory mention of the voter id number/ pan card number/ addhar card number, more specifically the purpose of urgency for travel of EQ seeking traveler for travel of self, family, relative if the travelling candidates is the guardian of the relative for any medical situation/emergencies, or for any sudden tragedy in the family, or emergency government duty for all government/service personal etc.
Also it should be made mandatory that MP/MLA representing the lower house should utilize majority of the EQ facility only and only for self or the people belonging to the constituency, however in exceptional cases they can recommend non constituency passengers. The ratio of local and non local recommendations should be strictly in the ratio of 80:20 i.e 80 % for the people belong to the constituency and 20 % for the people belong to the non-constituency, however the MP/MLA can utilise 100 % for the constituency people, in no case non local should cross 20 % of the recommendations eligible to make. There is no restriction of constituency for the MP/MLC representing the upper house being elected by the elected representatives / nominated by government, also there should be additional quota of 25 % for allocating to non-local category for EQ requesting authorities such as the constitutional authorities and ministers of the state and central. The system should be designed in a manner that that first priority should be given to the EQ requests having the voter ID number/ ADHAR number (the data of the voter ID, ADHAR should be up loaded to EQ automation system assembly segment wise, parliament segment wise for the identification of recommended people belong to the constituency of the MLA/MP for asserting local / non local of the constituency of the EQ requesting MP/MLA)
Second most important thing is to fix the number of quota of seats for each eligible EQ recommending authority, all government officials, and all public representatives. Each MP/MLA should be given the Quota based on the population they represent; i.e for every one lack population 100 seats per anum should be fixed. The quota utilisation, extension of quota is subjected to scrutiny of the utilisation of the EQ facility by the individual EQ recommending authority by a committee comprising of officials of railway board, representatives from the people, and the people from judiciary.
The railways should issue/provide bar coded stickers to all the eligible recommending authorities. The bar coded stickers should be issued in paper sticker to be affixed on the EQ requesting from to obtain EQ released based on protocol / availability, alternatively the EQ requesting authority can apply online to avail EQ. All the eligible authorities who wish to utilise EQ facility should register / apply online for getting the bar-coded stickers. As far as he public representatives are concerned as a standard procedure the Assembly / Parliament should send request of proposal for the bar coded sticker coupons for the MP/MLA as per the strength of the houses, number of bar coded coupons issued in the individual MP/MLA name based on the strength of the population represented by the individual MP/MLA (so that the bar code coupon prevent misuse by any other persons for being each coupon is constituency specific pre loaded in the EQ automation system with the details of the MP/MLA, which the EQ system allow access to the data of the people in the constituency as per census data of the population in that constituency, the EQ automation system designed to allow constituency local and non local requests in 80 : 20 ratio for each MLA/MP). The Railway board should issue & deliver to the parliament and to state assembly the bar coded sticker coupons as per the eligibility of MP/MLA to avail the EQ facility. It should be mandatory that parliament and assembly provide the details of official phone number of MP/MLA, their spouse, children and parents and attendant of the MP/MLA to the railway board to be pre loaded in the EQ system for preventing the mis utilisation of EQ facility of railway for the KIN-KITH of the MP/MLA (attendant to MP/MLA should be allowed to use EQ facility maximum six times in year family member two time in a year other than when accompanying MP/MLA in non emergency criteria situations, however the restriction not applicable in medical, other emergencies). All other civil servants and other employees of Railway should apply online to get the barcode instantly. In case the civil servants and government employee’s mis utilise (for KIN-KITH, also without proper purpose) the facility of EQ should be withdrawn and should be subjected to disciplinary action.
Also the 790 MP’s (545 LOK SABHA + 245 RAJYA SABHA )/ 4120 MLA’s (IN 28 STATES AND 7 UNION TERRITORIES) and 452 MLC’s (6 STATES) should be provided, bar coded sticker coupons quarterly once i.e once in every three months with validity of the coupons only for 90 days, with clear mention/print of period of validy on the coupons for more clarity and removing any confusion, based on the total eligibility of number of coupons by the MP/MLA per annum based on the population they represent, which divided into four quarters, all lapsed quota of coupons and should not be carrying forward to the next quarter (based on the population if the number of coupons given for an MP is 1000 then that MP should be given 250 coupons every quarter that are valid in that quarter i.e in the span of 90 days only).The unused coupons in that quarter should be automatically lapsed on the completion of the quarter in the EQ automation system, to bring more responsibility to the EQ requesting authorities should surrender to the unused coupons to the IR for obtaining the fresh i.e on the expiry of that quarter; It will ideal that all EQ requesting authorities should maintain an inventory of EQ requests in a standard format that was supplied by IR to all EQ requesting authorities, containing the details of EQ request passenger name, ID card number, date of journey, pnr, date of request, coupon number etc and submit the copy to the IR for issue of fresh coupons in the next quarter, which will certainly enable the EQ requesting authority to use the coupons appropriately. Also it should be mandatory that the bar coded coupons should be pasted on the request form every time to authenticate the bonafideness of the request to be accepted by the EQ automation system. The entire bar coded coupons are designed and loaded in the EQ system as per the individual eligible EQ requesting authority wise containing the details about the EQ requesting authority, their territory. As such even on plain paper the EQ request can be made by writing the mandatory details required as per the EQ requesting form. All the hand writing on the EQ requesting form or the plain paper written details should be mandatorily made in bold capital letters to ensure the details are readable to all the EQ releasing staff.
Also the EQ automation system should have inbuilt in the software to facilitate for create an online account for all eligible EQ requesting authorities by providing proper security system for EQ request to be availed in the lines of online banking transactions by making the EQ requesting authority to send an sms from the official mobile phone to get the password for each single request/ transaction to be made online preventing mis utilisation or protected from hacking. This system also facilitates to know the details of the EQ availed instantly on the official phone number of the MP/MLA and details of balance number of EQ coupons left over etc in the account of the EQ requesting authority. And also it should be ideal in order to encourage online request of the EQ, the online requesting should be given more preference than fax or personal drop box EQ requests for more authenticity as well reduction of manual entry of the details. The ratio of EQ facility preference for online to manual request should be 60:40 percentages of the available EQ quota within the eligible.
All elected MP/MLA representing the lower house should be provided the bar coded stickers based on the fixed criteria i.e on the number of people in the constituency (per lack of population 100 coupons per annum) thus doing justice to all the people in the country as some MP’s represent merely less than one lack population where as there are MP’s who represent more than 20 lack population. By providing coupons as per percentage of population the people of the each constituency will be more benefited to the people of each constituency rather than distributing EQ coupons equally to all MP/MLA irrespective of population they represent and also for proper utilisation. So providing the EQ facility quota for the MP/MLA based on the population the MP/MLA is very most ideal, effective and appropriate. In case of MP/MLC representing the upper house the number of total number of bar coded coupons should be equal to every individual MP/MLC representing the state. The number of coupons per annum per individual upper house members should be calculated based on the total value of the coupons of the for the MP based on the state assembly coupons total number and the MLC also based on the state assembly coupons total number. And the nominated members to the upper house should be given fixed number as decided by the upper house on the average of the MP/MLC. The restriction of the constituency will not be applicable to MP/MLC of the upper house, the state as a whole is counted for with the local state and non local state in the 80:20 ratios. However the restriction of local and non local will not be applicable to the nominated members of upper house. The local constituency/state restriction will not be applicable to the union cabinet ministers and ministers of state governments. Also it will be ideal to allocate 25 % more coupons than the eligible number to the individual MP/MLA/MLC who was performing the duties as a minister in the union government or state government.
Also the individual travel of the elected representative MP/MLA should not be counted in the EQ quota. (However the people and family members accompanying should be counted in the quota in case of EQ availed along with individual travel. As s standard procedure all MP/MLA should not recommend any individual passenger name for EQ request for more than four times (two up & two down journeys) in a year. Also the MP/MLA should be restricted to utilise the facility of the EQ for the family i,e spouse, children and parents only twice in a year, unless otherwise there exists a real emergency for them which should be subjected to proof by the medical authorities/ revenue authorities at the end of trip within 30 days, as the EQ automation system has to have inbuilt software designed to decline the EQ request for more than twice requests for any individual in the quarter i.e 90 days for more than eligible requests for family.) Also the EQ system is designed to sort out names from the EQ requests preventing all passengers other than the EQ requesting authorities travelling them self should be restricted to maximum of four times otherwise some individuals may use different MP/MLA requests many times to avail the EQ facility repeatedly based on the name and ID proof.
All the EQ requests should be mandatorily subject to the bar-coded sticker pasted on the request in case of physical sticker coupon or the online request for online request. For release of EQ the EQ automation system will recognize only authenticated bar coded requests. This system of sticker bar coding will prevent / control maximum fraud that was occurring as of now in the fax system as there is no guarantee that the EQ requested is a boanified request which is authentic /authorised by the requesting authority and also eliminate any mis utilize of letter head of the EQ requesting authority by any un authorised persons. The online request will be more authenticated as each EQ requesting authority will be provided with a password to operate the EQ request every time after logging in the EQ system, the pass word will be sent to the official mobile phone instantly for each EQ request after login to the EQ automation system soon after entering the basic details of the passenger in the online EQ requesting from, through an SMS to the official mobile phone of the EQ requesting authority from the the EQ automation center for authentication of the request. This password should be entered for finishing of EQ request.
All the requests need to read by the bar-code reader in the railway EQ facility center in the respective region. All the EQ facility centers should integrated and be centralised in Delhi for the release of EQ and the discretion authority of the railway board officials should be marginalised by total computerised automation of the EQ release criteria based on the order of priority of the protocol of the EQ realize facility. The centralisation of the EQ release facility similar to the case of the issue of tickets through central computer system will enable Civil Servant / MP/MLA to make request for travel in any party of the country, also can make request from any part of the country within his allotted quota for his self or for his constituency people/ non local subjected to restrictions, in any railway zone/region.
The central computer system should be made in such a manner that all the Civil Servant/MP/MLA should be given priority in their railway region being a local representative i.e in the trains originating from the region as well EQ quota in the region, compared to MP/MLA from other regions request being non-local. The automation system should sort out the requests in 70:30 for local railway zone and non local railway zone of the EQ requesting authority.
The centralised EQ release facility will certainly benefit the people in the country, as people travel from one place to the other, in case suddenly emergency situation arises in the home town, at individuals home, most of the cases the individual does not know other than MLA/MP of his home town, he can contact over phone and request them to facilitate for EQ travel from the faraway place to their home town, which will be possible through this centralised facility of EQ release where any MP/MLA request from any part in the country can be honored subjected to conditions. This facility will provide great help for the travellers in emergency situations, also a lot of trust and confidence in the elected representative.
The centralised computerisation of EQ facility with barcoded system will be more transparent than the existing system, as it is not the railway officials releasing the EQ decide the release of the EQ, but the computer system with inbuilt transparency and criteria for the release of EQ based on the hierarchy of protocol of release. It also eases the job of the staff working in the EQ department of the Railways as the system itself will decide the priority of the EQ requests received and the staff can easily feed the data of the eligible EQ forms that was sorted out by computer system, thus eliminating corruption, bias, nepotism, favoritism and fraud in the release of EQ. The EQ computer system itself eliminate the family members utilizing the facility of EQ request by more than one time, under any EQ request of any EQ requesting authority request, (as majority of the public feel and also mostly true that EQ facility will be useful for the family and kin/kit of the EQ requesting authority). It is for the individual EQ requesting authority to utilise the EQ facility for the purpose it is meant for (being clearly mention in the EQ form the need for recommending passenger travel purpose), which will be subjected to scrutiny half yearly. In case found that the EQ facility being mis-utilised by the concerned EQ requesting authority, the EQ requesting facility of the individual authority should be suspended by de freezing the bar-coded stickers in the system itself and also the EQ requesting authority should be barred from obtaining new bar-coded stickers and utilising the EQ request facility for at least two years.
Also the number of requests of the individual EQ requesting authority should be subjected to maximum of four seats request per a train within the quota of the EQ of the individual in any single day per single train however big may be in the protocol of the EQ which is possible only through EQ automation. Also the EQ should be released only at the boarding station of the passenger subjected to the availability (in no case the EQ release of the PNR starting from one station should be released from the next station i.e a Delhi – Howrah ticket should not get EQ released from Meerut or other place in case the eligibility of the EQ request fails in the system due to hierarchy protocol in the system, otherwise the purpose of EQ and the system of EQ will be un doubtedly subjected to mis utilisation. Only in very exceptional cases the head of the EQ Department in railway board can release the EQ from other stations other than originating station of the PNR, but should record the reasons for every such use of the extraordinary facility).
Also it should be mandatory for the passenger utilizing EQ facility should carry same photo ID card which was mentioned in the EQ from. Otherwise the passenger should be subjected to imposition of penalty/fine equivalent to the cost of the ticket on providing any other ID proof other than that was mentioned in the EQ form otherwise the passenger should be subjected to off loading from the train in the next station.
Also it should be made mandatory that the data of the EQ released should be kept on the web site of the railway for at least 90 days after the EQ release date for ensuring more transparency and proper utilisation as it will be subjected to public scrutiny. The data should be date wise, train no wise, state wise, MP/MLA wise, all EQ Requesting authority wise.
Also in continuation to my views and suggestions mentioned in my paper titled “ Simple and effective reforms for controlling corruption and delivering good governance” in sub title ‘Railway Reforms’ regarding the reforms in railway sector, it will be ideal for IR keeping in view of passenger convenience, safety and security issues are concerned to make it mandatorily to mention on the reservation request form the details of ID proof either the PAN no or the voter ID number or the ration card or the Adhar number of each passengers to obtain the reservation and travel by train. Even for the issue of general ticket also some ID proof should be there. Making it mandatory that travel by train needs valid ID proof, In case of minors travelling the guardian should have the ID proof, in case minors the copies of the Ration card or the school /college ID should be mandatory. No children below 10 years without accompanying the elders / guardians/ parents should be permitted to travel alone in the trains.
All the general ticket issuing counters should be made to record closely with the cameras the ticket purchasers and the tickets for travel should be issued on physically seeing the any ID proof by the ticket issue staff and record in the computer system the nature of the card i.e PAN card voter ID card, Adhar card or Passport or or driving licence or gas card or MNREGA job card or kissan card etc and the name as in the ID card should be typed and nature of the ID card should be printed on the general ticket the nature of the ID proof he was carrying and an overall list of the general ticket numbers with destination and nature of ID should be handover to the TTE or train superintendent to verify the passengers in the general coaches also as per the details in the computer system. It should be mandatory that all passengers wish to board the train should carry some sort of ID card for their travel by train.
Also it should be mandatory that all passenger tickets should be bar coded and a hand held bar bar coding reading devices should be provided to TTE for reading the bar coding of the ticket for authenticity and verify the ID proof of the passenger as mentioned in the ticket. This facility will certainly makes the security tighter and also the convenience that all the data of the passengers boarded will be recorded and intimated to the central server through computer system in the next station. As such the vacant seats will be automatically awarded and intimated through mobile SMS to the RAC passengers and in no case allowed to travel wait listed passengers and unauthorised passengers once the train moves from the station.
The above system will bring a responsibility to every passenger in the train to carry the ID card with him and also un authorised travel will be eliminated and the corruption by the TTE will be eliminated in the event of reserved passengers not travel and get their ticket cancelled and also the RAC passengers will get absolute justice without being all around tge TTE for confirming the ticket and also the information about the passengers travelling will be up loaded soon on boarding will be more useful in many security angel as well as in case of any tragic incidents happens, the photographs of the passengers can be retrieved through their ID card data bank i.e PAN card data of Income tax data , voter ID data of election commission, and Adhar card details from UID data base in case of the reserved passengers and in case of the general passengers through the photo graph in the camera at the time of purchasing the ticket and the address through the name on the ticket and the nature of Id card.
Also it will be more ideal to encourage the passenger ticket booking online as even in the small towns’ internet cafes are existing. To ensure that the burden on railway staff in entering the data of Id card and issue ticket that like mobile recharge retail centres the internet cafes or individuals who do not possess bank credit or debit cards should be provided with electronic cards that can be recharged in every railway reservation counter and railway station with separate counter for recharging in amounts of 1000 rs and multiples and these cards can be used to make reservation of tickets with each reservation will get 5 % cash back in the card that will be commission for doing reservation online ( as railways are saving lot of man power cost, electricity cost , infrastructure maintenance cost, paper and stationery cost for the ticket and the print consumables etc). These cards should have full security futures in the form of e-banking by providing on SMS to the designated mobile number in the card the security code to use the card every time for preventing mis utilisation of these money cards. The cards should be valid for one year and the balance amount should be used only to purchase the tickets only and no case refunded. On completion of one year in case there exists a balance, the balance should be carry forward to next year with a minimum sum say Rs 100 to be deducted and the validity should be extended to one more year. In case the existing balance in the card is less than 100 rs then the card holder wishes to extend should deposit at least 100 rs to make the card validity extended and the normal recharge of 1000 Rs and multiples should be carried out. This method will keep the internet cafe ticketing agents carry forward the business also this method will create some self employment generation for the youth at all places coupled with reduction in burden in the railway staff. However all general tickets should be sold across the counter.
In order to ensure that all passengers carry the valid Id card as mentioned in the reservation ticket there should be fine equivalent to the cost of the ticket should be levied by the TTE for not carrying the valid ID card along with making the passenger to be be boarded from the train in the next station and to hand over to the railway police for further action. There should be more squads for conducting the surprise checks on the passengers as well on the TTE. Also there should be serious punishments for any violation by the TTE and any biased and unwanted offloading of the passenger. The fine and offloading from the train can be done in the presence of the train superintendent and the both TTE and the Train Superintendent should be held responsible and liable for any deviation and violation by them in regarding to any passenger who has been fined and offloaded. Each TTE should be provided with wireless phone for communication with the train superintendent and other TTEs and rail technicians in the train.
Each rail should carry one electrician, one mechanical person two helpers, at least half number of armed police to the total number of coaches and at least ¼ number of coaches strength toilet cleaners for maintain the higenicness in the train. The police personal in the train ( RPF) should given special training in crises management in the event of fire or collision of derail of train or or any terrorist attack or attack by robbers, in identifying the thief etc or in case of any accent that may happen. Also the police persons in the train should be provided with breath analysers and should be advised to check randomly in every coach especially during the evening hours before bed time for any persons consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption in moving train should be heavily penalised and should be offloaded from the train in the next station and handover the RPF for further action. It will be ideal to impose 3 months imprisonment for boarding the train after consumption of alcohol or consumption of alcohol in the train whether moving or stationary. No passenger/ person should be allowed to consume alcohol in the premises of railway either in the platform or in the train. This is very necessary as many atrocities are happening in moving trains especially on women and girl children due to the drunkard persons. Also it should be mandatory to ban the sale of tobacco in the railway premises i.e on the shops in the platform or by the hawkers. There should be strict ban on smoking in the railway premises i.e on the platform or the train at all times. Violation should attract a penalty not less than 1000 Rs or 7 days imprisonment. It can be detected by the CC surveillance images in the platforms and the police in the trains should catch the persons smoking in the trains. All train toilets should be equipped with smoke detectors. The passenger violating the law and caught smoking should be offloaded from the train in the next station and handover to the RPF for further action.
All the police persons should be provided with cameras or 3G enabled camera phones for multipurpose use. They can take the pictures of the suspicious persons to be sent an MMS to the RPF server to identify and send details in case of old criminal or people in lookout etc. For this the RPF computer system should maintain the integrated data base of record of all the 8000 railway stations RPF criminals and lookout persons, data of all state and central police requests with photo images in a separate server with a website and receiving the message of the image should analyse the nearby features image through image reorganisation software and sent revert the MMS with details of the person for further action by the police in the train. Also the cameras should be used in making evidence of smoking and consumption of alcohol by the passengers. This will certainly marginalize criminals from travelling by the train. Also the data base will help the RPF to nab such persons from the platform if they got any suspicion on any person by comparing the CC image with image from the criminal data base.
In addition to RPF railway squads should be supplied with breath analyser to check to alcohol consumption by railway staff on duty. As some staff on duty is consuming alcohol while on duty. There should be regular and periodic surprise checks for this should be made for all staff on duty. This will certainly ensure that un wanted nuisance and criminal activities can be marginalised.
Also it will be ideal that there all the state police should have the integrated data of the criminals from all districts police officials and there should be a national integrated data base of criminals from all states which should be up dated everyday online. National Integrated Data of the Criminals should forward it to the Indian Railways as well as to RPF simultaneously. IR reservation system data base will search the details the criminals as per the data of from all the states from every train just minutes after the movement of the train from each station and handover the list if any criminals are travelling either in reserved or general compartment along with photographs to the RPF in every station soon after the movement. Also the Railways will forward the data my SMS, MMS to all the RPF personal who are on duty in the train. The RPF persons soon take into their custody and handover to the RPF in the next station. For This propose the details of police persons of the RPF on each train should be submitted every time before the train movement. Also it will be ideal to have RPF police that were going to perform the duty on the train should be from different states with different mother tong. This will certainly useful in better vigilance and security as many people who travel in train do not know other than their mother tong, in case any thing they wish to covey to the police regarding the suspicious characters in the co passengers etc can be easily conveyed to them. Also all the suspicious persons may not be criminals or some suspicious persons may not be in the criminal records but might have done some crime and moving away to different places, in all such cases local language speaking police personal from the RPF is very useful. As such the RPF should ensure the deploy team of police person on train duty is well composed having different mother tongs who can speak and understand the different state mother tongs. Also it will be ideal that in the railway reservation from there should a mandatory field to be mentioned by the passengers about the mother tong.
All trains should be equipped with pantry car. The pantry should carry hygienic water and facility to cook in hygienic atmosphere, cater the food requirements of the passengers with authorised pantry staff selling the food etc, no hawker should be allowed in the moving train, all unauthorised hawkers should be offloaded from the train once the train stats movement. In case any hawker found in the moving train found should be detained by the railway police in the train and offloaded in the next station and handover to the station police for further action. All unauthorised hawkers should be subjected to minimum of three months imprisonment. All unauthorised persons travelling in train should be imposed one month imprisonment, will certainly make the railway journey more secure and comfortable apart from all other safety measure that are needed in the operation of the railway locos movement system.
Also all the trains should have emergency medical kits in appropriate number as per the strength of the bogies. Also it should be manditory that for all long distance trains more than 12 hours journey should have one fully trained in emergency medicine nursing staff should be deployed for taking all emergency needs of the passengers especially the elders, children and any sick patents. It will be ideal that all nonstop trains should have one doctor travelling in train. Also it should be ideal that all major stations in metros, capital cities, all major cities, all important junctions, and where ever there is large number of foot prints and also in the stations where the distance between any two stations is more than 3 hours should have mandatory duty doctors working in the station premises in appropriate number to take care of the commuters. All doctors and nursing staff should be specially trained in emergency medicine. Also it should be ideal that in the reservation from only there should be special coloum to mention about the medicinal profession like doctors, nursing staff and there name should be specially given as per their reservation seat number to the train superintendent as well as the nursing staff in the train. All the doctors mentioning the profession should be given 20 % discount in the train fair and should be given preference in the choice of the berth likewise the nursing staff 5 % discount. This will certainly help the all passengers as they feel one doctor is travelling in the train. Also in order to prevent any mis utilisation of this facility it will be mandatory to mention the medical practice number, all the nursing staff about their working details. All the nursing staff should provide the copy of their ID card where they are working to avail this facility. Using this facility will implies that they are willing to serve the co passengers in emergency situations.
In order to ensure more cleanliness and more security in the railway platforms the railway platform ticket entry fee should made minimum 30 Rs and the validity of the ticket should be for one hour only. The entry in to plat form only on display of valid ID card, All the platform tickets should be bar coded. It should me mandatory that there should be cc cameras in all the station premises especially covering the entry and exit of the platform and the platform as a whole. All the cameras at the ticket issue and the station entry and exit should be connected to the RPF as well as stored in the control room in the DRM office with appropriate number of persons in shifts continuously monitoring the visuals ensuring that there exists railway officials always at the entrance and exit of the platform and also ensure that no person will stay more than 3 hours on platform ticket and also to monitor regular visitors to the platform for preventing un authorised hawkers, anti social elements from the vicinity of the platforms.
In all stations there should be installed single entry system at the entrance and mandatory that one staff of railway exists there at both entry and exit. This will ensure that all the people entering the platform will have either passenger ticket or the platform ticket with validity of that ticket will be read through the bar coding reading machine. Similarly all the exit points will ensure that the passengers will carry the journey ticket or the valid platform ticket, in case the time of one hour expire then the additional hour i.e next two hours should be subjected to 20 rs per hour and the third hour 30 Rs per hour. This will ensure there will not be much rush in the platform and also no unauthorised hawkers and persons will stay in the platform. And no person except the passengers should be allowed to stay in the platform for more than three hours. And in the evening after 9 pm only passengers with valid ticket should be allowed to stay in the platform in case there is no space in the passenger waiting hall, inside the platform.
The most ideal way of the CC camera installation and monitoring of the platforms, operation of reading the bar-codes on the tickets to provide entry into platform should be given on Built Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) bases to private parties to invest for the CC camera surveillance facility, their operation and maintenance should be by the private party only for certain number of years. The revenue earnings should be strictly on the bases of number of valid foot prints as the total number of passengers as well as the valid ticket holders of the visiting platform tickets and more percentage of money for the fine imposed on extended validity and penalty for allowing any single person or visitor stayed without platform ticket or stayed more than three hours. The minimum number of foot prints per station can be obtained from the previous data of sale of tickets that station as starting point. As the feed of the CC camera is being transmitted live to the RPF as well as in the DRM office to be monitored by special squad members of railways for counter checking the activities of the private CC surveillance operator. Apart from the CC monitoring of the railway staff in the DRM office, the squads will conduct surprise checks every day at some point of time in every station to ensure the alertness of the private CC surveillance operator. The private CC surveillance has only the role of facilitator of the feed and monitoring and informing to the authorities both railways as well as the RPF. Any action in any event should be taken by the railway staff and the RPF staff only. Also it should be mandatory that the CC surveillance operator has to install and ensure maintenance of 100 % power back up at all times and the CC surveillance images should be live with more than 99.9% up time. It is necessary that in case of power cuts the power backup is necessary to read the bar coding, to capture the images from the CC cameras.
Also the safety aspects of platform, track etc should be taken care Honeywell has developed multiple solutions that are used to improve safety on and around train tracks. Advanced electronic sensors and radar based technologies for railroad applications which can provide precise, reliable information in all weather conditions about speed and distance of rail vehicles. The detection systems can be installed in platform, the railway crossings, in detecting the objects on the tracks etc. Also the optical fibre track detention should be ideal to detect the breakages in the track for more safety.
The Platform Track Intrusion Detection System (PTIDS) is a radar transponder assembly for the surveillance of the tracks in front of a platform; this security solution was exclusively for driver-less remote controlled metro systems. An advanced sensor using radar technology provides surveillance coverage in front of platforms, between trains and at tunnel entrances. The sensor will trigger the safety systems in the stations to stop the train if an object is detected on the tracks. Virtually maintenance free, PTIDS provides weather proven safety without being compromised by rain, fog, paper, plastic bags etc, while showcasing an industry leading low false alarm rate. Bodies larger than 30 cm will trigger an alarm. The radar sensors are placed in modules. The length of a module is 2.5 meters and these modules can be combined up to 160 meters total length of the platform.
Vehicle Detector is a radar based sensor that uses Doppler and FMCW mode simultaneously for detection of vehicles, e.g. trains, trucks, cars, moving or stationary. Speed and distance are measured simultaneously, providing high accuracy while being maintenance free. The vehicle detector is used in rough environments, e.g. railway tunnels to determine the presence and speed of a train. A sensor assembly along the track supports a system software to decide if the train is moving or has stopped, to determine it’s speed and direction and detect if a train has separated. The sensor is operating at 24 GHz and is therefore not disturbed by moisture, dust or smog. The sensor is maintenance free and does not require scheduled cleaning.
Radar Scanner is an automatic monitoring system for detection of objects (roadway traffic) located between the gates of a level crossing. It increases the safety for people and vehicles crossing the tracks, especially if they are trapped in full barrier level crossings. The systems sends and output signal “crossing clear’ or “crossing occupied”. The detection of obstructions occurs by means of a radar sensor measuring distances. With every rotation the radar generates a horizontal scan of the section of roadway between the railway gates. If an object is found to be inside the area that is being monitored, then a corresponding signal is send out to the level crossing control system that prevents clearance for the train passage.
Also it should be mandatory that all the railway staff should be issued bar coded wipe card pass for travel in train to perform the duties. A swiping machine should be installed at the entrance to access the validity and authenticity of the pass of the individual employee and issues a bar coded ticket for the purpose of entry and exit of the platform like any other passengers. Only the staff attending that particular platform should be given separate bar coded id cards for entry and exit of the platform. This process will completely eliminate unauthorised entry by any single individual into the platform. This process will also ensure that all railway staff utilise the daily rail travel pass appropriately.
The Automation of EQ release facility coupled with mandatory systematic criteria for EQ realise will reduce the corruption, mis utilisation of EQ facility and certainly provide more number of seats for the eligible common person within the available seats. On implementation of safety measures like CC cameras, mandatory ID proof for the issue of train ticket, and RPF, medical teams all coupled with platform safety, rail track safety implementation will certainly boost the image, confidence in the common person will feel justice done to him by the railways, after all the railways utilising the common mans money for their growth, truly making Indian Railways the “Life line of India”.
(Ref: 1***) Measures for prevention of corruption and good governance in airline travel titled ‘Simple and Effective Reforms for controlling corruption and delivering good governance’ in sub title “Travel and hospitality sector reforms”.
(Ref: 2***) Measures for prevention of corruption and delivery of good governance in Highway and road safety titled ‘Simple and Effective Reforms for controlling corruption and delivering good governance’ in sub title “Transport sector reforms”