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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Role of Railway as Public Servant” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Role of Railway as Public Servant

 

The first passenger train in India ran between Boree Bunder (now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal) earlier known as the Victoria Terminal for several decades and Thana for a distance of 34 kilometers. It was indeed an uphill task laying the tracks those days, what with the tough terrain and many workers succumbing to malaria and other diseases. But the British regime was fully geared to accept the challenges, however, formidable they were. The task was handed over to competent engineers and technicians.

The inaugural run was to be held on April 1, 1853 but had to be postponed to April 16, 1853, because of bad weather. In the absence of the governor of the Bombay Presidency, Lord Falkland with lady Falkland was the chief guest at the maiden run. The inaugural run had 14 coaches, drawn by three locomotives Sahib, Sindhu and Sultan and carried 400 passengers. It took 57 minutes for the train to reach its destination after halting at Byculla, Sion and Bhandup.

A long 150 years have gone by and today the Indian Railways cover a route length of 63.028 km. with 7566 locomotives, 42,570 coaches, 2,22,417 freight wagons, and 6,853 railway stations. The railways carry 13.24 million passengers every day whose transit is monitored by a staff of 15,45,300. The railways also carry freight to the tune of 1.38 million tones daily.

The Indian Railways is the largest employer in the world and has grown to become Asia’s second largest and the world’s third largest state owned railway system.

Nearly a quarter of India’s 63,028 km./ railway route is electrified, according to the Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE). The electric trains run from Ludhiana in the North to Ernakulam in the south and Howrah in the east to Ahmedabad in the west. Though the allocation for electrification had been slashed from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 214 crore, the CORE exercised 414 km. last year, taking the total electrified route to 15,398 km. we have been consistently improving the productivity of the employees and commissioning more than 400 km. every years”, says the general manager of CORE. There are only 3,275 employees in CORE today against 9,545 in 1990. The Indian Railways is also going for optic fibre to increase safety, punctuality and passenger information services.

Indeed it is striking, to think of the large population and the voluminous area it is serving, but on deeper analysis, one really feels that the Indian

Railways can do much more for the millions of rail users across this country. A hundred and fifty years after the advent of the railways and 54 years after independence, for many, a rail journey still remains a nightmare. What with the mounting number of accidents, lack of security during the journey, intolerable insanitary conditions, a corrupt and apathetic staff, harassment by beggars and hawkers, the lack of punctuality in the running of trains, to mention a few. And there is no let up in the number of accidents occurring at unmanned level crossings. And the Railways are crippled by an unprecedented financial crisis. Therefore, there are many who are convinced that the railways have not tapped their full potential as in the case of tourist boom.

The Railways carry more than 13 million passengers per day; of this mind boggling number nearly 12 million are unreserved passengers. The railways will be developing computer based unreserved ticketing system under which unreserved tickets can be issued even from locations other than the boarding station.

When the Railways can scare away the commoner, what attraction can it hold for the majority of foreign tourists who have more things to see in India, but whose arrival in India is one of the lowest in the world. It is not enought that you boast of a great culture, great diversity, great heritage, wonderful beaches, great journeys, temples and the like, but it is your duty to make the visitor feel “at home” . More than any other agency, the railways can open up the “wonder that is India”, but, alas it is not happening. A few “Palace-on Wheels” do not take you anywhere; the rail journey should be made comfortable for every tourist domestic and foreign. For this so many things are required, availability of tickets and reservation at predestined data without hassles, help in cancellation, if needed, comfortable journey in clean coaches, good, hygienic and less expensive food, soft drinks, water, freedom from beggars and hawkers, punctuality in the running of trains, good accommodation arranged by the railways, clean platforms, courteous behaviour by the railway staff, etc. This is not a tall order. Tourists flood those countries where these bare minimums are provided. The railways do not provide them and think that all these are a luxury. A polite smile by a railway functionary costs nothing, but it makes a world of difference to the tourist who feels he is “really wanted”, an important person in strange, new surroundings. A disarming smile is like the welcome first showers in Delhi in the scorching June. Tourist Packages are indeed welcomed, but every train in the country should beckon the tourist.

We are happy to hear that a new ‘Palace-on-Wheels’ type of train is being introduced between Maharashtra and Goa linking several places of tourist interest, as a joint effort between the Railways and the Government of Maharashtra. A memorandum of understanding has already been signed by the Railways and Maharashtra Government in this regard. Another proposal to run a tourist train for pilgrimage tourism on Secunderabad-Dharmavaram, Tirupati-Guntur-Nadikude-Secunderabad circuit is being considered. Andhra Pradesh Government has also proposed a Palace-on-Wheels type of train for which modalities are being discussed. Likewise, the government of Karnataka has proposed jointly to run a Palace-on-Wheels type of train on Bangalore-Hospet-Hubli-Goa Mangalore-Hassan-Myssore-Bangalore-Circuit. Modalities in this regard are being worked out. A ‘Palace-on-Wheels’ was also planned on Nagpur-Jabalpur narrow gauge line from October 2002.

If there is a strong political will, the railways, together with the tourism department of the government of India and various state governments, can do this. But all this is possible only if there is thorough revamping of India’s biggest employer in terms of streamlining and augmenting its services, eliminating the bureaucratic flat and making the employees from top to bottom accountable to the millions of railway users. The time should come when every citizen should look forward to rail-travel with a sense of expectancy and excitement. The recommendations made by different committees including the Rakesh Mohan committees should be looked into and such of the recommendations as could help Railways function more efficiently should be implemented. In that sense, the India Railways, that has completed 150 year of service, has miles to go.

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