Contrary to public perception that services on trains are far from up to the mark, the Delhi division of Northern Railway has claimed that the number of passengers' complaints has come down substantially over the years.
"Only 58 complaints per month were reported in 2011-12 as against 169 per month in 2010-11. In the current financial year as well, the figures are encouraging," a senior official told Hindustan Times on Friday.
"In 2008-09, we registered a 40 per cent decrease in the number of complaints from passengers regarding cleanliness, railway staff behaviour and other passenger amenities, as compared to the figures for 2007-08," he said.
Most complaints pertain to cleanliness, defective fittings, pests and rodents, linens and water. "We have managed to bring the numbers (of complaints) down because we have been analysing each and every problem and taking corrective measures," he said.However, passengers do not seem too convinced. "It's basically statistical jugglery. You travel on any train and these tall claims are exposed. It's time the officials worked towards improving services instead of patting their backs," said Kavita Mehta, a frequent traveller between Delhi and Lucknow.
Officials, however, claim the division has initiated a slew of measures, including mechanised cleaning of coaches, onboard housekeeping on premium trains, a clean train station scheme at New Delhi station, better passenger comfort on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, more effective pest and rodent treatment and regular induction of new linen items.
"The task is not easy. The carriage and wagon wing of the Northern Railway's Delhi division is the biggest in the country. We attend to 4,500 coaches of 250 trains every day. The 21 Rajdhani, 13 Duranto & Yuva and 11 Shatabdi trains are our major responsibilities," the official said.
"The number of complaints can be reduced even further. Open discharge toilets have for long been criticised. In collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Establishment, we have designed bio-toilets. In case of linens, we're selecting professional agencies, for supplies, on enhanced eligibility criteria."