Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his maiden budget speech announced a slew of amenities ranging from “operation five minutes” for issuing unreserved tickets, to coin vending machines, concessional e-tickets for differently abled travelers, a multi-lingual e-portal for booking tickets and hand-held terminals to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs) for verification of passengers.
The Railways will also take up a project for introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains, while an “SMS Alert” service to inform passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations will also be started soon.
Mobile phone charging facilities will be provided in general class coaches, and the number of charging facilities would be increased in sleeper class coaches.
For the safety of women passengers surveillance cameras will be provided on a pilot basis in selected mainline coaches and ladies’ compartments of suburban coaches. Railways will also utilise funds from the Nirbhaya Fund for augmenting security of women passengers.
The Railways has also approached NID to design user friendly ladders for climbing upper berths and has proposed more quota of lower berths for senior citizens. For the differently-abled travellers, a special initiative is being launched whereby they can purchase concessional e-tickets after one-time registration.
TTEs will now be instructed to help senior citizens, pregnant women and differently-abled persons in obtaining lower berths while middle bay of coaches will be reserved for women and senior citizens.
The railways has put aside Rs 120 crore for Lifts and escalators and newly manufactured coaches will now be Braille enabled. The Railway minister also spoke about building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers;
The total allocation for passenger amenities is up by 67 percent.
As per the Budget proposal, the speed of nine railway corridors will be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can now be completed overnight.
An all - India helpline number, 138, will become functional to attend to the problems of passengers on a real time basis. A mobile application to redress Railway-related complaints is also being developed.
E-catering has been introduced in 108 trains on an experimental basis from January this year. Food can be ordered through the IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets. Depending on the response from the customers, the facility will be extended to cover more trains.
In order to ensure higher standards of cleanliness, railway ministry will make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the Government’s flagship programme ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The Railways has proposed to create a new department for keeping stations and trains clean Railways will build new toilets covering 650 additional stations compared to 120 stations last year. Bio-toilets are also being fitted in coaches. Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has also been tasked with making available within a period of six months a design for vacuum toilets.
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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2015 15:12:06 IST