Saturday, 24 October 2015

indian railways

Yesterday, I went to the railway station to pick up my family.  As i was a little early, I spent some time observing people at the station.  While looking on, I found myself standing next to the general(unreserved) compartment of another train on the adjacent platform. I took a few steps forward and came across another unreserved compartment. I continued further and was surprised to see that there were more unreserved compartments which I found rather unusual as normally trains do not have more than one or two unreserved compartments.  Then I took a closer look at the compartments and to my horror I realised that they were reserved compartments!!!!  They were packed to the full with 4-5 people sitting on a 3 seater with the alleyways and even the spaces in front of bathrooms occupied.  And worse there were many more people on the platform waiting to hop in once the train started moving.
This could be attributed to the holiday rush but my first thoughts were about women and children on these trains.  I wondered about their safety and privacy where even the  simple task of using the wash room would be herculean, wading n pushing through so many men. 

But is it possible to do anything about this in our over populated country?  If the unreserved are denied entry they will cry and if they are allowed, the reserved will!!!  There are no easy solutions to this considering that we have to be sympathetic to the cause of the unreserved also as anyone can find themselves in an 'unreserved' situation!!! A few thoughts -

1.  TT must force unreserved to leave the train - easier said than done as in some places TT himself may get thrown overboard in the process - so it may be easier to stop them from boarding the train at the stations itself..

2.  Towards that - make railway stations like airports - allow entry only with a ticket - again easier said than done - too many practical difficulties but a beginning can be made

3.  or carry out complete ticket checking in station itself and detrain all unreserved passengers - not fool proof but more workable than other solutions!!! will need passengers to report earlier, need addl staff and RPF personnel.  But the additional cost can be passed on to the passenger. This is one price rise the reserved passengers would not mind.
4.   What about unreserved passengers then? - present tatkal scheme can be made steeper in price, so that only those who really have to travel would travel.  This would ensure that people who have to  travel in emergency can do so in a train at any time.

Once people get used to the idea that unreserved are not allowed to board the train, they will reschedule non essential travel. (Right now, the idea is to board the train with or without reservation!!) but this change will take a few years, even a generation but it is a change in the right direction and may be gently nudged by all concerned.

My last thoughts were - are these additional people paying passengers?!!! because if they are - the railways would make a decent profit and that would  at least be the silver lining!!!!

Nirbhaya juvenile rapist

Lest you forget... The juvenile rapist of Nirbhaya who was supposed to be the most brutal of all is still at large!!! keep an eye ...