GUWAHATI: The Indian Railways has taken 360 degree measures to ensure that interest of the passengers and all commercial clients are taken care of and national supply chains keep running. To arrest the spread of COVID-19, the Indian Railways stopped regular passenger train operations from March 24, 2020. However, this did not limit the Railways' outreach to its customers and public in general. As the Railways ran a large number of goods trains, Shramik Special trains from May 1, 2020 and Special Passanger trains from May 12, 2020 onwards, it was felt that the Railways should have a dedicated unit to give swift responses to rail users.
The Indian Railways has been responding to complaints, queries, requests and suggestions every day, from five different communication and feedback platforms — Help lines 139 and 138, social media (specially Twitter), email (railmadad@ rb.railnet.gov.in) and CPGRAMS. More than 90% of the queries were responded to over telephone on one-to-one basis, mostly in the local language of the caller. Due to this 24x7 hour process, the Indian Railways had its ears to the ground, leading to fleet-footed response to redress grievances of both the Railways' customers and the general public. For its swift response, Railways garnered praise from across the country, stated a release.
Rail Madad Helpline 139 continues to answer lakhs of queries on one-on-one basis in addition to queries answered by its IVRS facility. While the queries are mostly for commencement of train services and the relaxed refund rules (which itself was done on the basis of the feedback from public), the social media is flush with appreciation of Railways' efforts in these trying times. Some of the efforts lauded include running of freight trains carrying essential items, waiving penalties for late release of wagons, converting coaches into hospital wards, distribution of food packets, preparing PPEs, sanitizers, and other equipments to fight against COVID-19.
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