Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Siddharth Prabhakar| TNN | May 31, 2017, 

Representative image

CHENNAI: Faced with increasing complaints over the quality of food and hygiene as well as the condition of toilets and linen in premier trains like the Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express, the Railway Boardhas chalked out a detailed plan to upgrade the services in these trains, bringing it on par with the Tejas express started recently. Facilities like individual LCD screens, Wi-Fi services and coffee-vending machines could be added to these trains to improve services, sources said.

Titled Project Swarna (Gold Standard), the Railway Board has formed nine committees to address issues like interior furnishing, catering, cleanliness, staff behaviour, security and passenger behaviour. They will analyse each issue in depth and present a detailed report along with an action plan for improvement on June 6 to the Railway Board, sources said.

Based on the action plan, each zone will have to form a committee to plan the upgrade, senior officials said. "Every Shatabdi and Rajdhani train will be given a sum of Rs 50 lakh each for expenditure on priority items," the official said. There are close to 50 pairs of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express services operated by Indian Railways.

Three months after the upgrade is kick-started, the Railway Board will conduct an audit of the facilities by a third party, just like how cleanliness of 407 railway stations was audited by IRCTC and Quality Council of India (QCI) in the last two years, the official said.

The detailed plan comes after feedback from passengers that tickets on these trains have gotten costlier due to dynamic fare pricing but there was no commensurate improvement in facilities.

"Passengers must feel that they are travelling in a premier train with added facilities or they will stop patronising these trains," a senior official said. An earlier Railway Board direction had told zones to give top priority to these trains and ensure that the chief mechanical engineer conducts surprise inspections.


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