The Indian Railway System is one of the largest railway networks across the world and it remains to be India’s most popular and convenient communication method. However the system is far from proper facilities, management and convenience. In the past few years the quality of services offered by Indian Railway System has deteriorated significantly owing to the illegal political intervention, poor monitoring and extreme corruption. The number of increased railway accidents and black marketeering of tickets are two of the commonest issues concerning the entire rail network.
A standard Indian railway train comprises of an engine, second class or general compartments (2-4), Second Class Sleeper Coaches, AC 3-Tier Sleeper Class, AC 2-Tier sleeper Class and First Class AC compartments. The second class or general compartments are mainly occupied by poorest of Indian population and there is no proper reservation system available for the seats. Though there are 4 small washrooms and two washbasins available in the compartments, food and other facilities are bare minimum. In the other compartments which are much expensive than these, facilities are slightly better, although not up to the mark. A private company has been awarded the contract to cater the railway passengers with food, towels, bed sheets and other stuffs; often they are unable to meet the expected quality. In some of the AC compartments, the minimum cleanliness and hygiene is not maintained. Hence the passengers are compelled to travel with cockroaches, insects and ants!
Another major issue with the indian railways booking and ticketing system is that the website or even the Tatkal railway reservation system never seems to work right after the tickets are open for booking. And till the time the website starts functioning, all the tickets get booked. Then one has to buy tickets to via agents who charge premium price that is 50-200% higher than the actual ticket price. This is indeed a shameful instance of black marketing which is being overlooked by the government and jurisdiction of India since years.
Railway accidents have become a common affair these days in India. Every other day you can watch a railway accident as the breaking news running on the national channels. And the government barely takes any effective step to put a stop on this mass killing. Instead they simply speak two words of sympathy and sanction some money to the deceased’s family as if human life is worth a few dimes. There are several reasons behind the frequent railway accidents which are as follows:
- Poor or almost no maintenance of the trains and the railroads.
- Employees lack proper training and often fail to abide by the safety rules. Also they are often too much fatigued and lack proper rest which results in accidents caused by human errors.
- The railway tracks and technological aspects are not upgraded on regular basis. This is certainly a cause of accidents that take place because of fog or other weather extremities. No Automatic Train Protection System or Advance Warning System is employed to prevent accidents.
- Inefficient administration, excessive political intervention and complicated bureaucracy are responsible for railway accidents. There is no competition which could have ensured better facilities for the passengers.
- Terrorist interventions are certainly another important cause of railway accidents. The recent Gyaneswari Accident is just another example of fatality.
The present condition of Indian railway system is no doubt shameful and a disgrace to the country’s name! However conscious effort from the government can certainly improve the situation. There should be strict norms against any sort of violation of the safety guidelines, lack of responsibility and mismanagement leading to accidents or passenger inconvenience. No political partiality should be entertained in any matter concerning booking tickets or awarding jobs to vendors. All these steps will collectively improve the condition of this 150 years old Indian railway and offer the passengers with some peace of mind.