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The great Indian railway hazard
Security, crowd and service led Indian Railway towards mess
After the inception in 1853, Indian Railways, steadily blossomed into a colossal organisation, to become the second biggest rail network in the world. But yet, one and half centuries later, the great railway network remains overcrowded, vulnerable to security and poor service provider to the enormity of India’s goods and 1.1 billion population!
Indian Railways (IR) is perhaps at present at its zenith of glory and development. It has started running into profit, revenue has also increased by 16% over last year. It carries 16 million passengers daily. Still, it is mostly overcrowded to the point that a traveller has to wait for months to get a reserved ticket. The sheer madness that goes with travelling in a general compartment shows us profoundly the pain that one needs to undertake while travelling in our most esteemed Indian Railways. The reserved sleeper classes of Express trains, barring Rajdhani and other few, are overcrowded, heaving with people trying to claim every bit of available space as their own. Therefore, the compartments soon get squalid and worst of all, is the lavatory, which gets sordid beyond the point of tolerance. IR is the Commercial Utility Employer, with 1.6 million employees, being second only to Chinese Army, as regards, maximum number of employees. In spite of such huge workforce, IR is not really the safest railway in the world, with accident rate over 300 per year.
However, with the onset of economic prosperity, Indian Railways has also seen enough progression. Outlay of Rs.23,475 crores in 2006-07, public-private partnership for development and major technological upgradation are some of the achievements. But beyond the pervasive conceptions of railway authority, IR remains at the target of crossborder and internal terrorist groups while the dream of providing world quality services remains far distant, with increasing underutilisation of existing resources. Inspite of good intentions, there remains hardly any progress on these serious issues. Is Indian Railways an exmaple of the very nature of Indian PSUs?
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