Tamil Nadu

Southern Railway poor at addressing grievances registered on ‘Coach Mitra’

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 01/02/2017 : Railway Budget - 2017. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced waiver of the budget-2017, focussed on improving rail safety, SMS service for cleaning of Toilets, pushing digital transactions, listing rail public sector units on stock markets and setting fares competing with other modes of transportation, on February 01, 2017. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Karnataka : Bengaluru : 01/02/2017 : Railway Budget - 2017. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced waiver of the budget-2017, focussed on improving rail safety, SMS service for cleaning of Toilets, pushing digital transactions, listing rail public sector units on stock markets and setting fares competing with other modes of transportation, on February 01, 2017. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Water crisis pulled zone down in national ratings, says official

The Southern Railway has figured among three poorly-performing zones of the Indian Railways when it comes to resolving the passenger grievances raised through the ‘Coach Mitra’ mobile application.

An analysis of the On Board Housekeeping Staff (OBHS) response to passenger grievances revealed that the Western Railway topped the list, with 61.3% of complaints redressed within 30 minutes of a call, while the Southern Railway stood at 18.1%. The figures for the North Central Railway and the East Central Railway were even worse — 8.2% and 17.1%, respectively.

The Coach Mitra app is a single-window system developed to enable passengers to flag issues relating to cleanliness, provision of water, linen quality and electrical fittings on trains. Besides the mobile app, passengers could also lodge complaints through SMS to designated numbers.

Once a complaint is flagged by a passenger using the app, the Train Supervisor who heads the OBHS team would receive an alert. After the issue is resolved, the passenger would receive a ‘satisfaction code’ on his/her mobile phone. The complaint can be regarded as ‘closed’ in the system only when the passenger shares the code.

A zone-wise analysis of Coach Mitra data for the April-June 2019 period to assess the effectiveness, response time and passenger satisfaction for various service requests showed that the Eastern Railway, at 68.9%, was the top performer in terms of complaints closed with passenger satisfaction code, followed by the West Central Railway with 62.6% and the East Coast Railway with 59.7%. However, the performance of the zones varied when it came to resolving the issue within 30 minutes, to the satisfaction of the passenger.

The analysis revealed that a majority of the 23,435 passenger complaints in the three-month period pertained to poor maintenance of toilets, followed by water issues and problems with electrical fittings. The Southern Railway, with a majority of its jurisdiction spread across Tamil Nadu, reported the maximum of 905 complaints relating to non-availability of water on trains.

When his response was sought, Southern Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer Shubranshu said complaints of non-availability of water could not be resolved within the 30-minute time frame since watering could be carried out only at railway stations where the facility was available. Scarcity of water in the State was one reason why the number of complaints shot up, he said.

“There was also a technical glitch, due to which supervisors could not get the alert message from the app. We have rectified the problem and have also added a provision whereby a copy of the passenger complaint will be received by the control room. The number of complaints in the Southern Railway has in fact come down from 3,800 six months ago to 1,800 now,” he said.

Mr. Shubranshu said that 60% of the complaints in the Southern Railway came from the Thiruvananthapuram division, where passengers were not only aware of the Coach Mitra app but also used the facility extensively.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:32:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/southern-railway-a-laggard-in-grievance-redressal-through-coach-mitra/article28692737.ece

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