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Agra Railway Officer Comes Down Hard on Unauthorized Vendors, Imposes 1 Lakh Fine

Railways has started taking strict action against vendors who do not follow norms In Agra and Mathura division, railways is imposing heavy fines on such vendors Recently, in a surprise inspection, DCM Agra division Prashasthi Srivastava imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on a vendor
Indian Masterminds Stories

Overcharging by vendors, bad quality food, and unclean rest rooms are common sights in railway stations. But in the Agra division, specifically at Mathura and Agra Railway Stations, things are changing. Here, after inspections, vendors are being heavily fined by railway officials.

Recently, in a surprise inspection, 2017 batch IRTS officer and DCM Agra division, Ms. Prashasti Srivastava, imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on a vendor for overcharging from passengers and Rs. 10,000 fine for not maintaining toilets clean. This will definitely act as deterrent and improve passenger services.

Not only this, but the contractors of the catering stalls have been instructed that if any deficiency in quality is found, the stall will be sealed and closed immediately. Also, heavy fines will continue to be imposed on overcharging. Similarly, vendors of toilets have also been instructed to keep them clean and not charge people, as their use is free.

Indian Masterminds interacted with IRTS officer Prashasti Srivastava, who is DCM Agra Division, to get more details.

IRTS officer Prashasti Srivastava

HEAVY FINE

At the time of the ‘Mudiya Poornima’ fair in Mathura, railway officials stay in the town to watch over the railway stations.

In Mathura and Agra, a lot of ‘Petha’ and ‘Peda’ are sold in the name of local delicacy. Both these stations are very busy ones and all the passing long distance trains halt here. That’s why, the railway officials are very sensitive about the food quality, and keep raiding these two stations.

Ms. Prashasti said, “In this case, we went on a surprise inspection around 11 pm. We checked many stalls, and many unauthorized items were found at some fruit and juice, and catering ones. Apart from this, the tea at one of the stalls was moldy. So we seized all such items and imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on three stalls.”

Urinals are free at railway stations. But by hiding the rate list, the vendors charge Rs. 5 to Rs. 10, running a scam at the railway stations and fooling people.

The officer said, “It is an illegal practice. Sometimes the public does not know and they pay to use the free urinals. We keep getting regular complaints about this. That’s why we imposed heavy penalty during our inspection. A fine of Rs. 10,000 has been imposed on a vendor and many others have also been fined. We are being very strict about this. Hence, everyone has paid the fine.”

HOW FINES ARE IMPOSED

These fines have been imposed as per the norms mentioned in the railway contracts with vendors. There are different norms in different contracts. But these are disclosed beforehand and the vendor is aware of it. Generally, these are drafted in such a way that up to Rs. 5000-10,000 fine can be charged on one mistake. It is like an advisory.

Ms. Prashasti said, “If many such illegal practices are caught, then the fines of all can be clubbed together and imposed. In normal cases, up to Rs. 5000 fine is generally imposed.”

COMPLAIN & BENEFITS

Mathura also faces a similar issue of unauthorized vending and action is being taken here also. 139 is the common telephone number on which anyone can complain. At the same time, if someone posts a complaint on any social media platform by tagging Railway Minister, DRM or Railways, then the control room picks it up from the social media platform and registers it on 139, so that all complaints of RailMadad get compiled at one place.

If someone is charged more than the MRP during his train journey, he can file a railway complaint through helpline number 139, ‘Rail Madad app’, and railway website, while sitting on the train.

Railways has a Grievance Redressal Mechanism – ‘RailMadad.’ Anyone can contact it and take help from it. The department receives thousands of complaints on it every month. Agra division receives about 3 and a half thousand complaints per month. But with timely actions, these complaints also drop. Ms. Prashasti informed that they have seen a significant reduction in the number of complaints received due to such actions.

She said, “We run a war-room, which will call you on your complaint within 5 to 10 minutes as a customer care service. Our average time of complaint disposal is 27 minutes. Even if someone posts a complaint on any social media platform by tagging Railway Minister, DRM or Railways, then our control room picks it up from the social media and registers it on 139 itself, so that all the complaints of RailMadad get compiled at one place.”


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