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Need to better porter services of Indian Railways
The licensed railway porter is not an employee of the Indian Railways - he is merely contracted by the Indian Railways to offer his services to passengers. Although the Railways are no in way obliged to provide monetary or other benefits to licensed porters, they are offered some facilities as a goodwill gesture.

IT IS interesting to note the way porters working with the Indian Railways are chosen and how they conduct their day-to-day affairs. A porter's licence for any Indian railway station is granted on behalf of no less a person than the President of India. 

Once selected, a porter is required to pay a one-time fee of Rs.10 as security deposit (refundable) and a monthly licence fee of Rs.10 (for A class stations with over 150 porters) and Rs. 5 (for B Class stations, with less than 150 porters) to the Indian Railways. In return, a porter is entitled to two sets of uniforms, a complimentary travel pass in second/sleeper class from his station of work to any station in India and back, once a year; medical facilities in the out-patients department for him and his family in the Railway hospital of his station; free use of waiting halls, canteens, rest rooms and in some cases, the porter's rest house (the coolie shelter).

The licensed railway porter is not an employee of the Indian Railways - he is merely contracted by the Indian Railways to offer his services to passengers. Although the Railways are no in way obliged to provide monetary or other benefits to licensed porters, they are offered some facilities as a goodwill gesture. And over the years, as the porters' union has become stronger, the perks are getting better.

It is seen many a time, the porters and customers clash or bargain on one single issue - money to be paid for their services. This situation causes dissatisfaction for both the porters and the commuting public. Commuting public should look forward to enjoying their journey but at times such situations act as a dampener for their happy journey. One of the suggested methods to solve this issue is to have prepaid porter/coolie booths, which would be of big help both for the porters and the commuting public needing porter service. Perhaps, a law can be mandated requesting people to go in for prepaid booths for availing coolie services. Currently, there are prepaid taxi and auto rickshaw booths, which are operating successfully. One these lines, porter prepaid booth can be started.

It is seen porter class handle two types of luggage - one from the general public and the other from the railways itself. The railway luggage goes into luggage van of either the passenger train or the goods train. The luggage handled is of different shapes and sizes and are thrust into the luggage van till it cannot accommodate any more. Though care is taken by the porter community to load this luggage nicely, but due to paucity of time they have to act faster, which could result in damages to the stuff packed in gunny bags or similar bags or boxes in different shapes and sizes. The suggested method is to ensure that all the luggage vans are revamped to accommodate only a certain number of goods. The present bags can be replaced by mandating usage of three different types of boxes (which could be recycled) - large box, medium large and small box. This would mean standardising these boxes manufactured through select industrial units and these boxes can be recycled or reused. Perhaps, a law can be mandated to follow these.

- At times, porters do pay bribes to concerned people for getting job and their prime interest is to recover this cost at the earliest and therefore a porter does extra work with the sole motive of earning more and more quickly. It would be a good idea if porter community is mandated to undergo specialised courses through Industrial Training Institutes where they would be taught as to how to do their jobs neatly and cleanly on a daily basis through modern system and also they would be taught the importance of customer service and customer satisfaction. One of the mottos of the Railways is to provide safe and happy journey for the passenger class and therefore porters can be trained well in advance to ensure that their interaction with the customers ends happily/ satisfactorily.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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