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Flooded with complaints, railways logs off FB

delhi Updated: Feb 04, 2013 00:09 IST
Darpan Singh
Darpan Singh
Hindustan Times
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SK Agarwal asked: "What is the platform number for the departure of Delhi-Jaisalmer Express?" No answer. Solani Poddar wrote: "The bed roll provided has shoe prints on them and there's nobody who is answerable." No response.

They are not alone. There are thousands of such instances. Launched about two years ago for passenger feedback and to ensure better facilities, the Facebook page of Northern Railway (Delhi division) has become a one-way traffic.

Faced with a barrage of complaints, the authorities have stopped responding on the page. No wonder, the number of people who "like" the page has come down from 11,000 sometime back to 8,480. But it remains flooded with complaints.

Launched amid much fanfare on March 8, 2011, those maintaining the page initially provided information on seat availability, platforms, train timings, the running position of trains at New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin stations. A set of railway officials was supposed to update the page on an hourly basis. People uploaded pictures, shared links and posts.

But the railway authorities recently cited "technical reasons" and "disabled" the page to avoid "negative publicity" as complaints kept pouring in large numbers. The Railways also said many proxy pages had cropped up leading to confusion among passengers.

And the disappointment among passengers is palpable. Deepak Sinha has posted: "The Railways started current reservation status on Facebook. We really appreciated the service but after a few days it's back to square one. I fail to understand why Railways fail to monitor and maintain its services."

"Ye naye DRM saheb to reply bhi nahi karte hain. Lohani saheb (the earlier divisional railway manager) to reply karte rahe," reads another post.

"The daily footfall of passengers at railway stations in Delhi alone is 10 lakh. A lot of people these days use social media. It was a vital source of feedback. But we needed competent people for realtime redress. We couldn't cope with the outpour," admitted a railway official.

"There was some technical problem. See it's a public forum and we're trying to revive it. We also need some experts who can understand people's problems and respond to them in an effective manner," the official said.