September 27, 2016 3:37:56 am
On September 10, Santosh Sandhu, a Mumbai-based IT professional used a retiring room at the Pune Railway Station to spend a night while on a work-related tour. Owing to bedbugs inhabiting the mattresses, he “wasn’t able to sleep the entire night”. He also complained of rashes and aches all over his body.
The next morning he used Twitter to announce: ‘Retiring room in Pune full of khatmals. Please use government money to replace the beds’. He also tagged the Union Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, in the tweet.
Minutes later, the Railway Ministry sent out a tweet tagging the Pune Divisional Railway Manager asking for a “proper pest control”. Result: The retiring room at the Pune Station was fumigated two days later. In fact, DRM, Pune, B K Dadabhoy also communicated to Sandhu via Twitter that “it is safe for him to use the retiring room”.
While the Rail Ministry’s ‘Twitter Room’, which has become a 24×7 grievance redressal cell for passengers, has become a hit, Pune Division is not far behind as here too now a Control Centre has been set up to resolve issues and address them in real time.
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The range of grievances raised include complaints about crowding in coaches reserved for disabled, lack of security on station or aboard the train, men entering women’s compartments, complaints of theft, robbery, overcharging by vendors, disappearance of railway parcels, garbage lying around in the coaches or on the platforms dirty toilets and not to forget the menace of rodents in compartments.
“Twitter is one of the best examples that display power of information technology and we are trying to harness its power to serve the passengers. The control centre has been sensitised about the need to quickly relay passengers’ complaints to the concerned departments that also have their own Twitter handles. This way, the information is passed promptly and efficiently,” said Dadabhoy, who personally looks after the grievances that are being addressed.
As per officials, a control centre at the DRM office keeps a tab on twitter 24×7 and boasts of having a 4 minute average response time as well as a 70 per cent complaint resolution rate.
“We treat a tweet with the same seriousness as a written complaint. There are 10 different twitter handles belonging to different departments with @drmpune playing as the nodal account,” Krishnath Patil, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, who supervises the twitter activity.
DRM’s account receives tweets either directly from the user or from the ministry, which many passengers tend to tag if they are not aware of the local twitter handles. Then the complaint is relayed to other departments namely operations, engineering, medical services, commercial, mechanical, personnel, account and railway protection force (RPF). “When we started, the average response time was 20 minutes. After sustained efforts, the same has come down to 4.4 minutes. Also, the resolution rate too is going up that presently is somewhere around 70 per cent,” said Patil.
According to officials, encouraged by the prompt response the number of tweets received by the division too is going up. “In about a month, we have received about 300 tweets. The daily average is going up every day,” said Patil.
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