Amid sharp criticism over the abysmal nature of Indian Railway services, the Railway Board has instructed its zonal managers to install AC's in the offices of officers in-charge of NSG 1 to NSG 4 railway stations, which is close to 6,000 stations. The installation has to be completed within the coming two months; and is intended to give the officials a comfortable working space. A letter released by the Board stated, "Station directors/superintendents/supervisor in charge of railway stations are dealing with the public on a day to day basis. Sometimes, the rooms of these officials are overcrowded with passengers." It further continued, "Since the above mentioned officials are an important interface of the railways with the passengers, it would be in the organizational interest to make their working environment comfortable," as mentioned in agency reports.
It is pertinent to note that this is one of the series of actions taken by the Board in order to overhaul the image and services of the 165-year-old Indian Railways.
Recently, Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister, announced revision of train schedules for a maintenance drive which will take effect from 15th August. The schedule is being revamped to improve train punctuality and to create time blocks for the maintenance work. Additionally, if any train gets delayed during meal hours, passengers holding reserved tickets will be provided complimentary food and water by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the catering and ticketing arm of Indian Railways.
Further, the Railway Board had earlier announced re-painting of close to 30,000 mail and express train coaches among other upgradations. It also highlighted plans of replacing traditional train toilets with vacuum bio-toilets like those in an aeroplane. Around 500 vacuum bio-toilets have already been ordered. Once the experiment is successful, the Board will replace all 2.5 lakh toilets in the trains with vacuum bio-toilets.