KARNATAKA

Velu inaugurates Bangalore centre operations

Staff at the Railway call centre, which was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu, in Bangalore on Monday, attending to the calls made to the centre. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Staff at the Railway call centre, which was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu, in Bangalore on Monday, attending to the calls made to the centre. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar  

BANGALORE, NOV. 29. The Minister of State for Railways, R. Velu, has said that people across the country may soon be able to dial 139 for all their queries on railway services.

Inaugurating the Rs. 60-lakh call centre here today, he said such centres might be set up in all States if the ones in Bangalore and Patna received good response from the public. Now, people from all over Karnataka could dial 139 to get information on railway services.

Describing the call centres as a major step in the Railways' attempt to provide better passenger care, Mr. Velu congratulated the team of officers who worked on setting up the call centres. He announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh to it.

Later, he told presspersons that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. would transfer 15 paise to the Railways for every call made to the call centres. Thus, the Railways expected to get back the investment of Rs. 60 lakhs in three years.

However, his Ministry would not wait till such recovery was made for expanding the service to the entire country.

He said the computer at the call centre in Bangalore recognised the voice of the people who could name the trains. They need not remember the train numbers.

New look

He said the Bangalore city Railway Station and Yeshwanthpur station were being refurbished and he was happy with the progress being made.

The Minister said that many trains had been introduced this year and the Hubli-Chennai train service would commence soon. The Mangalore-Hassan gauge conversion would be over by March 1, 2005.

Mahesh Kumar, Bangalore Railway Divisional Manager, explained the other features of the call centre. He said that if reservation was not available in the train mentioned by the passengers, the call centre would automatically suggest the names of other trains where accommodation was available. The call centre was expected to handle about 40,000 calls a day.

Hotlines

Mr. Mahesh Kumar said that three hotlines were being provided at the reservation area of the Bangalore city Railway Station. When the passengers lift the receiver, they got connected to the call centre from where they could seek information. Similar free hotlines would be provided at other reservation counters in Bangalore and at other railway stations. At the Bangalore city Railway Station, such hotlines might be provided at every 100 metres.

People could get to know what they should do if they lose tickets and about the rules governing cancellation of tickets. In addition, they could record their grievances in 60 seconds by calling 139.

Mr. Mahesh Kumar said passengers would be able to book retiring rooms and even a taxi using the call centre, soon.

Also, passengers could send SMS to 1390 for ticket confirmation and getting arrival and departure timings of trains. They should type PNR, give space and type 10-digit PNR number and send it to 1390. Soon after they would get an SMS about the status. Though people needed to dial 080139 from the mobile phones to get access to the call centre, efforts were being made to ensure that they too could dial 139 directly.

K.K. Bajpeyi, Managing Director, Railtel Corporation of India, which developed the software for the call centre, said the centre was equipped to give the exact about the trains during the journey in Bangalore division of South Central Railway at present. Soon, Hubli and Mysore divisions too would be linked to the facility, he added.

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