Food, theft, cleanliness: Indian Railways' app saw over 5k complaints from Telangana

Majority of complaints received were about faulty electrical equipment and lack of cleanliness onboard the trains, an RTI response from the South Central Railways reveals.
A train parked at a railway platform
A train parked at a railway platform
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A Right to Information (RTI) response from the Indian Railways has revealed that in the last six months, the Railways’ Madad app, a grievance redressal portal, received more than 5,500 complaints from the Telangana region. While a majority of the 5,670 complaints were regarding faulty electrical equipment and lack of cleanliness onboard trains, complaints were also received about food services and quality, corruption, issues with luggage and parcels, delayed trains, ticketing issues, harassment on board etc.

Out of the 1,751 complaints received about faulty electrical equipment, the majority were complaints about air conditioners and charging points, the RTI revealed. 434 complaints were also received regarding security-related issues which includes sexual harassment, misbehaviour, extortion, theft etc.

According to statistics provided by the South Central Railways, in reply to the RTI application, there were only 3,790 complaints on the app in the previous financial year (April 2020 to March 2021) from Telangana. This is also due to the travel restrictions that were in place due to COVID-19 across the country at that time. In the previous financial year as well, the majority of complaints received were regarding cleanliness and faulty electrical equipment in coaches. The period between April 2019 to March 2020 recorded 9,566 complaints in total from the Telangana region. Out of these, more than 1300 complaints were regarding punctuality of trains. More than 850 complaints were also received regarding security issues during the same period. 

The RTI reply reveals that all 5,670 complaints have been disposed of by the Railways, and that all cases were resolved within 30 days of the complaint being lodged. 

Robin Zaccheus, an RTI activist from Hyderabad who filed for the response from the Railways, felt that there is wide scope for the Railways to improve traveller experience. Speaking to TNM, he said, “The South Central Railway's complaints are alarmingly high and there is a colossal scope of progress in coach cleanliness, AC support, dependability, security, and water accessibility in the washrooms, which is maybe a premise need. The SCR should flourish to offer elite types of assistance and distribute their complaint reports on their website.”

“Likewise, there is a requirement for improving existing classifications of protests which are named as miscellaneous. I trust the SCR Management finds fundamental ways to further develop the traveller experience,” Robin added. The app had received more than 550 complaints under the miscellaneous category over the last six months in 2021, and around 675 complaints between April 2019 and April 2020.

It was in 2018 that the Indian Railways launched Rail Madad, a mobile app to provide passengers a platform to register complaints online. The app communicates real-time feedback to passengers on the status of redressal of their complaints. As soon as a complaint is entered on the app, the passenger gets an SMS notification, informing them that the complaint has been registered. The app also has the provision for passengers to upload photos. Passengers can choose the type of complaint they want to register on the app. There are 20 complaint types for those regarding stations and 15 complaint types for trains.

Apart from a platform to lodge complaints, passengers can also use Rail Madad to avail medical facilities or to reach out to the child helpline, women’s helpline etc while travelling. In the last six months, 150 people had requested medical assistance while travelling by train, the RTI response said. 

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