Technology can be a double-edged sword and red-faced Railway officials here realised this bitter fact the hard way.
A service launched through the popular mobile messaging app WhatsApp drew thousands of response within four days — porn clippings, vulgar messages and dirty jokes.
The messages did include a few genuine complaints from passengers for which the facility was offered to people.
The much-hyped WhatsApp account was generated by Bhopal rail division authorities to invite complaints and suggestions from passengers regarding the facilities they avail and problems they face in trains. Within four days of the service was launched, over 3700 messages were received.
Most of the messages are either vulgar, obscene or jokes or don't have any meaning. The meaningless messages include 'I miss you' and 'Thank you'.
"The people are sending obscene videos and photographs, dirty jokes. Thank God, there is no woman employee posted to see the messages," said a senior railway officer.
Rattled by the porn clippings and messages the railway authorities have now decided to put up hoardings at railway stations to advertise as to what to send on the WhatsApp account and what not.
"We will make an appeal to people not to post obscene messages. At the same time, we would warn them that posting of such clippings and messages may lead to action against them," said the official.
The divisional railway manager (DRM) Rajeev Choudhary, however, is not for a middle path.
He said they had decided to report the issue to police.
"Some insensitive posts were received on Thursday and we have decided to report all such cases to police and also inform those who have sent such messages," Choudhary told HT.
The WhatsApp account, which was launched by Bhopal rail division on August 5, is connected with a computer and all complaints and suggestions given by passengers get uploaded on a central system.
"There are some serious complaints like bad quality of food being served at food stalls at railway stations, inconvenience while boarding the trains and misbehavior of railway running staffs. We are taking such complaints very serious and action would be taken," said another railway official.