Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Derailed at New Delhi rly station

Even purchasing a ticket is a nightmare

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | February 22, 2010


An empty ticket counter at New Delhi railway station
An empty ticket counter at New Delhi railway station

“I have been standing in this queue for the past-one-and-a-half hours. The lady at counter number 36 (the ticket counter meant for physically disabled) has been sitting idle, but when I requested her for a ticket, as the queue for ladies is very long, she simply refused saying that her counter is meant for disabled. She is not even entertaining the aged,” said Rashmi Shukla from Ahmedabad, who had been waiting in the queue at the crowded Ajmeri Gate side of the New Delhi railway station.

Shukla says her demand is perfectly reasonable because the basic purpose of all ticket counters is to attend to the passengers. So if the general counters are not able to cope up with the rush, the counters meant for special people should be opened for the general public. And she is by no means alone.

“Most of the general counters are closed anyway,” says Ankit Kumar Sahu, another passenger in distress, “The train to Bareilly which I have to board is about to arrive but I have still not been able to get a ticket.”

In fact, talk to just about any passenger at the New Delhi railway station and you can listen to a litany of complaints regarding the most basic passenger amenities.

“This queue has not budged an inch for the past half hour,” says Vishambar Singh from Ballia, “How can it? Nobody has turned on the other side of the counter. Most of the other counters are also closed.” Singh added that even when the counter functions it takes nearly five minutes to get a single ticket. “The staff is just not properly trained to use computers,” he said.

This is the situation a year after Mamata Banerjee, minister for the profit-making Indian Railways promised a complete overhaul of passenger amenities in trains as well as on platforms.

People’s demand begin with additional ticket counters, cooperative staff and computer savvy personnel at the counters who can provide prompt service.

Bhupinder Singh of west Delhi’s Janakpuri speaks for everybody when he says it’s a shame that even purchasing a ticket takes so long at the flagship railway station in the national capital.

 

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