Prabhu urges GMs to travel with commuters during Customer Facilitation Fortnight to improve services

Kolkata (KOAA): Railway minister Suresh Prabhu during a video-conference with general managers of all 17 zones, urged them to take steps to enhance passenger amenities and seek feedback during the ‘Customer Facilitation Fortnight’ commencing May 26. The GMs have been asked to travel in suburban and passenger trains during that period and interact with passengers to get firsthand feedback. Prabhu has also directed the Railway Board to sign Memorandums of Understanding with Railway PSUs for better passenger amenities at 10 stations.

“These stations are Mumbai CST, Howrah, New Delhi, Guwahati, Patna, Varanasi, Vadodara, Chennai, Agra and Bengaluru. The MoUs should be signed with PSUs such as CONCOR, IRCTC, IRCON, RITES and RVNL, assigning them two stations each for bringing about visible improvement in passenger amenities through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes. The MoUs will have to clearly indicate what kind of amenities each PSU can provide. The MoUs will have one-year, two-year and five-year targets. In addition to this, the Railway Board may also sign MoUs with select zonal railways, granting them more autonomy with attendant accountability. Railway zones may also sign MoUs with state governments for Special Purpose Vehicles for infrastructure development,” a senior officer in the Railway Board said.

The GMs have also been directed to meet state chief secretaries and other officials to discuss issues such as cleanliness, law and order and safety at level crossings. Meetings between divisional railway managers and passengers’ associations and chambers of commerce should also be held to help in better understanding of problems, the minister has directed. The general managers have also been instructed to involve railway unions to interact with passengers and highlight achievements. Intensive drives will also have to be launched by all zones to check the quality of catering both on trains and at stations, Prabhu has said.

“The other thrust areas are safety awareness drives, monitoring of punctuality and cleanliness and sanitation drives at all stations. The minister has also instructed that the zonal railways start skill development courses for local youth in batches of 100,” the officer added.