Indian railways are one of the biggest networks of trains in the world. They facilitate the growth and livelihood of nearly 1.6 Million Indian by offering employment options along with accommodating nearly 7.7 Billion passengers commute each day as a primary mode of transport. In fact, Indian railways are the largest state owned enterprise in the world contributing nearly Rs. 1635 Billion revenue each year towards the economy.
Railways passengers are the first and foremost responsibility and concern of the Indian Railways leading to a series of provisions and privileges that are not prevalent anywhere else in the world. The Indian railways have the lowest fares in the world to facilitate uninterrupted travelling of the people belonging to all strata of the society with equal comfort and alacrity. This enables the poorest of the traveler to afford a ticket without hesitation for crossing the boundaries of the state.
Besides the low fares, the railways offer a variety of facilities such as railway passes that fall even cheaper in longer run for people requiring regular connectivity. Many people commute by the means of railways to earn their daily wages across the country on daily basis. Also, another benefit offered by the Indian railways is the multiple arrangements for booking tickets based on the convenience of the passenger namely, e-ticketing and reservation counters.
To conclude, Indian railways are the largest employer in the world offering living and income to millions of Indian along with being a prime choice of commute for many more each day.
Security of Rail Passengers on Trains
Railways, in India, are the source of mass development and growth due to the amount of revenue they generate directly and indirectly. They serve as source of livelihood to millions, making them the largest state owned organization offering maximum employment in the world along with helping millions more to commute each day for personal and professional necessities. Hence, the security of these travelers is an extremely important and vital job that requires continuous vigilance. With the increased threats, the security has become a concerning issue that needs to overcome by the authorities.
However, if each person travelling or using the services offered by the railways to ensure security, the task may not be as gigantic as it sounds. The latest step towards to solve this concern is by the proposal to include the community policing officials in this regard. The railway police are a large organization but, it is not big enough to man each coach of every train that run per day. Hence, a more community approach has to be applied making it the only possible solution. Community policing individuals can be deployed in each coach to monitor the compartment and report any incident to the officials in case of need. Always remember, security of rail passengers in the train is and will be the most important job and responsibility of every citizen travelling on it.
Rail Transport History
The first railways that the world had ever seen arrived in 1820’s in Europe. However, the Indian Subcontinent witnessed it on their ground in the Mid-nineteenth century. It was between the historic periods of 1853 to 1929 that India was introduced and taken from 0Km of railways network to 66,000Km’s. It was built, owned and run by a private group of industries rather. But, the engineers of the East India Company played a vital role in its origin, construction, and expansion that gradually transferred the reins and responsibility to the local civilian staff, technicians and engineers.
On 22nd December 1851, the dense network of Indian railways was inaugurated with the first train that ran 10Km between the Roorkee and Piran Kaliyaar station to help the farmers. The train was a solution devised to solve irrigation problems and transfer of more fertile clay for plantations. Eventually, after seeing its utility, the Indian Railways Association was created in 1845 under the guidance of Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy and Hon. Jaganath Hunkerseth, which was later renamed as the “Great Indian Peninsula Railway.”
On the historical date of April 16 1853, the first commercial journey was set up between Bombay and Thane and a 21mile train was made to run on it that had 14 carriages and 3 locomotives. The journey was covered in 45 minutes. Soon, more commercial trains were sent on various routes in India, including Calcutta-Allahabad-Delhi in 1864, Allahabad-Jabalpur in 1867, Bombay-Allahabad-Calcutta in 1870, and so began the ever-expanding network of railways.
It was after this that the drive for electrification of trains was started in India after necessary permissions from British Government. In 1925, the first electric train of India was tested for a distance of 16Km between Bombay to Kurla.
However, then came the period of great depression in the west followed by the Second World War. The Indian Railways suffered a great deal as most trains were diverted to combat troops of other countries and several tracks were dismantled to make ammunition for the war. Furthermore, several railway workshops were converted into supply and ammunition depots to support the war.
But, they recovered and finally in 1946 all railway systems were officially taken over by the government. After independence, India inherited a dilapidated network of railways most of which had been handed to newly formed Pakistan. Soon, the drive to revive it started in 1952 until 2006 when it had a total of 16 zones under it.
The jump from steam locomotive to electrical and diesel was made in 1985, quickly followed by the drive to computerize the Indian railways that was achieved in 1995.
In present day, over 18 types of trains are being run smoothly on the Indian railway network including Metros in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai (under construction).
Rail Transport in India
Indian Rail Transport is the world’s fourth largest undertakings owned by the state. It covers nearly 1,15,000 Km of area joined together by the means of nearly 7,200 railway stations across 16 railway zones of the country.
In fact, Indian Rails are one of the most important modes of transport for an average Indian citizen who numbers close to 7.7 billion. They cover the vast distance between the different parts of the mainland from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The railways have encountered a steady growth across the country in past several years under the leadership of good authoritative figures in the ministry of railways. Also, it is the railway that was built to suit the needs of every Indian, even below the poverty line, to travel with convenience and comfort. For this the Indian Railways is proud to have one of the lowest fares in the world for such a large distance travelling across such a diverse land.
The Indian railways have not only provided comfort to millions of Indian travelling on it everyday but also have given livelihood to a large segment of the society. In present day, it is known that Indian railways is the seventh largest Employer in the world with a work force of over 1.6 million people. This work staff includes drivers, Ticket Collecting officials, Office staff, labors and daily wage employees to offer maximum growth opportunities for everyone.
Indian railways being the third largest in the world, carries close to 23 million passengers and 1.4 million tons of freight each day. The revenues and cost of Indian railways is largely divided among the two with a major chunk coming from the freight.
This can be attributed to the low fare charges taken from people to suit the convenience of every person in India starting from poorest to the richest. It is also known that nearly 23.5% of the total revenue contributed by passengers comes from general and other classes as compared to 1.5% from the Air Conditioned coaches. As per confirmed reports from variable sources the Indian railways are the cheapest in the world with a fare of as low as Rs. 250 for 1,500 Km. for the convenience of the passengers the railways have 10 classes of accommodation ranging from 1AC to 2S and II-UR. The reservation of these classes can be done on public portals for a specified date on the basis of affordability. With over 3000 trains divided into 18 types and spread over 16 zones, the prime concern and motive of Indian Railways Authority is convenience of every Individual Indian passenger.
Railways have been equipped with a unit of police, called rail police, dedicated to the safety and convenience of the passengers during need.
During overlapping journeys, the stations have a cloak room and Aaram Ghrah (Rest house) to keep your luggage and rest for the period. The Railways or IRCTC stall provide fresh and reasonably priced food for the expediency of the travelers. These stalls offer food at subsidized rates to ensure affordability by all segments of the society. However, if you face certain difficulty during your journey or after your arrival on the platform, there are customer service representative or help desks available on each station.
Indian railways are a dense network of train but, takes keen interest in the convenience of its passengers. For the purpose, the railways have provided two modes of booking or reserving a seat as per the convenience of the booker.
Option 1. Booking Counters
Each railways station has been equipped with a booking counter to manage bookings. The customers have to fill up a form along with a proof of identity to make a reservation. These can be done in three ways; advanced booking, tatkal and on-spot booking. The bookings are subjected to the availability of the seats in the desired train or coach.
Option 2. E-Ticketing
The next mode of booking is through online portal by opening an account with railways. These bookings can be obtained through the means of accessing the internet portal either via a computer or laptop or through an internet based Indian Railways App for the same. Both can provide tickets for prior and tatkal booking based on the date of the needed reservation. However, the internet bookings are unavailable during the morning hours. But, during these hours, the availability of the seats can be easily found out on the websites.
The Railways bookings for the passengers can be obtained in three ways:
The Indian Railways opens its portals for booking 4 months or 120 days prior to the date of journey. This ensures easy and fast availability of the desired seat and coach based on the customer preference.
The next on the type of reservation is Tatkal and Premium Tatkal, which can be obtained 48 hours before the date of journey and is available on counters for sale. These are certain reserved seats for emergency purposes that are sold on the last day depending upon the availability. The tatkal tickets can also be bought online post 12 noon after the portal opens.
The on-spot booking is a booking on the counter just minutes before the train is to arrive. This is highly subjected to availability as mostly all tickets are sold out before hand. However, mostly a general ticket is issued to the buyer in case of an emergency for the general coaches but no seat allocation is done.
Indian rail Pass
This is an additional mode of reservation for the convenience of the passengers travelling from abroad. These can be brought for a certain period of time from the tourist bureau for maximum comfort and time management. These enable the users to travel on all trains without route restrictions economically for the valid period.
Special Railway Passes
These are another addition to the booking tickets. These passes are handed out to the national awardees for enhanced convenience during travel as an appreciation for the good services offered to the mother land, for example the Shaurya Chakra and other medal awardees are presented with this pass.
Do’s and Don’ts While Travelling
Indian railways take keen interest in the subject matter of security for its passengers. However, it is the moral responsibility of a passenger to follow certain norms and decorum to ensure the safety of him/her and the fellow passengers.
Do’s while travelling
- Planning for the vacation or travel
- Rail/Air/Bus Booking or reservation
- Hotel bookings
- Local Transport arrangements
- Travel light
- Weather essentials, sweaters for winters and hats and sunglasses for summers
- Finance management
- Eatables and drinks
- Keep a tab on your luggage
- Keep your loved ones close
- Arrive well in time
- Behave well with co-passengers
- Keep emergency numbers on fast dial
- Keep your loved ones informed of your whereabouts
- Carry spare batteries or portable charger for your mobile phone
- Follow rules and instructions
- Carry a book or a movie for long journeys
- Take rest
- Be calm
- Enjoy your journey and stay
Don’ts while travelling
- Check your bookings and tickets
- Don’t rely on last minute deals or change of plans, they might or might not work out
- Avoid too much of luggage or baggage
- Don’t carry too much of liquid cash, carry plastic money instead
- Don’t look expensive, especially ladies who love to show off their jewelry
- Avoid suspicious people
- Avoid fights and arguments
- Avoid eating from unauthorized sources, especially during summers
- Don’t litter
- Don’t break the law
- Don’t overreact
- Don’t climb or get-off on and from in-motion buses and train
- Don’t cross railways tracks or roads from unauthorized spots to save time as they might cause accidents.
Rail Passenger Safety in the World
Passenger safety is one of the prime considerations while travelling in railways all over the country and the world. For the safety of the passengers, all trains world over have rail police or equivalent officials travelling on-board. In case of certain loss of belonging or suspicious people or baggage, please walk up to them to register your complaints.
Railway Police is always there to assist and help you
Overcrowded trains can lead to accidents; avoid pushing in the crowd to get in especially with small children around
It is a punishable offence to travel without a confirmed ticket on the train
In case of emergency, pull the chain to stop the train
Beware of the thieves and pick-pockets at crowded platforms and trains
Maintain a safe distance from the tracks as suction is created during the movement of fast moving trains
Keep children under tight grip
Foods from malicious sources can cause infections
Do not leave your luggage for someone else to look after
Avoid getting on and off from moving trains
Cross platforms and tracks only via the available over head bridges or subways
In case of accidents, remain calm, help will arrive!
Distribute your cash and store it in several places like pocket, bag and purse to avoid looses all at once in case of an accident
Do not get off on platforms between stations where you are not meant to get down
Do not smoke or drink on train
Community Policing to Secure Rail Passengers
Rail transport is the lifeline of India. It serves as a source of livelihood to nearly 1.4 Billion people across the country and for the same it is ranked as the one of the largest state owned enterprise offering largest employment opportunities globally. Also, Indian railways are the largest network of railways in the world carrying nearly 23 Million passengers each day. Along with providing convenience and luxury to commuters and travelers, Indian railways hold the responsibility of transporting nearly 1051 Million tons of freight each year generating revenue of Rs. 1051 Billion. Nearly, $6.1 Billion USD of revenue is generated each year just from the extensive passenger service offered by the Indian railways.
In this heavy workload of freight and passengers, the question of security is of prime consideration and focus for the authorities. The Indian railways have been equipped with an exclusive branch of police for its safety and security known as Railway Police. The railway police are a highly specialized force of individuals trained to counter every possible situation that can arise in the railways. However, their numbers are extremely limited in comparison to number of trains, freight bogies and passengers. This often works as a drawback, disabling their presence at certain crime or accident scene due to unavailability of resources.
After several rounds of intense discussions, the thinkers found a resolution to the ubiquitous quandary of security. They concluded that the only solution to the hazard of security in railways is involvement of community policing. It is the aspect that can provide a widespread security and vigilance in every possible circumstance at every spot including the wide array of trains that run within the Indian sub-continent. The community policing is a liaison created out of the need for a better law and order by developing a society that is crime free. The society is a mere reflection of the people who reside in it. Hence, it is the moral responsibility of the members of the society to help resist the evils and deal with them at the appropriate moment to avoid further obliteration. Also, the community members are the best judge to a threatening situation and the time and amount of its impact on the society.
Community policing is a joint venture launched by the identical collaboration of responsible community constituents and police to attain a state of perfect harmony within the society. This task may sound difficult at first in a developing nation, especially India because of extreme combustible environment; however, it is not unattainable. All it requires are constant, persistent and deliberate efforts towards the unified goal with extreme confidence.
Community policing has shown promising outcomes and effects on the implementation of law and order by affecting the mindset of the people. The community policing taps on the hidden virtue of patriotism within the individual by raising a moral consciousness in him/her. It need not necessarily mean punishing the guilty at the hands of the community instead it works as a rehabilitation program to change the attitude of the person that was irresponsible and carefree in the former scenario or circumstance. A community is incomplete without the cooperation of the conscientious citizens working towards the betterment of the society.
The railways need such honorably cognizant and ethically approved citizens to carry the responsibility of maintaining safety and security of the passengers travelling in railways. Although there might be conflicting views however, the citizen has the power to do and undo a wrong for the betterment of the fellow natives, especially in a democratic republic like India.
Role of Community Policing for Safety of Rail Passengers
A conscientious citizen and volunteer of community policing can take on innumerous assigned and unassigned responsibilities without being checked for it. However, there is certain expected dependability entrusted on the shoulders of citizens. A few of the job checkpoints levied upon him/her can be summarized as below….
1. A volunteer of the community policing is held accountable for maintaining law and order situation under all circumstances. In case of an illicit activity within the train, s/he instantly reports to the concerned authorities. Many times the offenders of crime use trains as an escape route due to lack of deployment of authorities. Under the circumstance, the role of community policing volunteer is to report it rather get engaged into a confrontation as it can be life threatening. It is also the prerogative of community policing volunteers to report suspicious people or activities such as an unmanned luggage for the safety of all.
2. Safety from offenders is another vital role of the community policing volunteer. Pick pockets and robbers can often target crowded train for easy preys using drugging as one of their tools. Hence, it is the duty of the community policing officials/volunteers to remain alert and report a similar incident to the authorities immediately so that the victim can be offered justice.
3. Many people tend to get into petty fights or confrontations in the busy trains or platforms leading to complete violations of law. The community policing individual could help calm the situation and discourage the use of unlawful methods that can harm any or both the confronters.
4. Helping the handicapped, children and old another important role assigned to the community policing individual due to his immaculate moral conduct and consciousness. The children, elderly and handicapped individuals often face several difficulties while travelling and this experienced can be improved by lending them a helping hand at the right instance.
5. Women safety issues concern the authorities at all times. Sexual offences and harassment cases are ample in a crowded train leading to a level of discomfort among the single women passengers. The community policing volunteers could assist in reporting such cases, discouraging the offenders and protecting the fellow women travelers to alter this notion.
6. Accidents can be brutal and should be avoided under all circumstances. However, in case of a tragedy, the community policing volunteers are liable for lending assistance to the needy and the authorities to save as many lives as feasible.
7. Guard against abuse by authorities is also a role assigned to the community policing volunteer.
Indian railways have been the mode of transport and means to earn livelihood for millions of Indians. They are governed under the able guidance of the government of India for time immemorial in the sub-department of Ministry of Railways.
Hence, the great task of maintaining a healthy networking system and reducing flaws comes to each and every Indians kitty. Although, the government and its officials are continuously working round the clock to make it better but, the gigantic task cannot be completed without the assistance and initiative from all Indian citizens.
In order to make this lifeline of India more proficient in its task, let’s all join our hands and work towards a brighter future and smooth functioning. So, come and join us in our drive to make it the best Rail networking system in the world!