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Covid-19: Railways may automate passenger health, ticket check

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 10, 2020 Published on June 10, 2020

The plan is to reduce contact while boarding travellers

Railways is accelerating automation in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic spread. It is making health and ticket checking, and train boarding process more contactless.

Indian Railways has introduced an automated ticket checking and access control machine – it checks body temperature and face mask of passengers, before checking ticket and identity cards, ahead of allowing them to board the train.

The move is aimed at making the process of boarding safer — by lowering points of contact —- for railway passengers and railway officials like ticket counter staff and railway police force. This was tweeted by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

This ticket checking machine put up at Nagpur Division is expected to add to the money earned from non-fare revenues as well, at a time when people are avoiding travel due to fear of Covid-19.

Merging roles

In another move, Indian Railways is also mulling steps to merge various roles of officials across the board. Ideas suggested by various zones include merging posts of guard and loco pilot, letting RPF staff check tickets, among others. These discussions happen in the backdrop of Railways facing revenue pressure.

Sources maintain there are no final decisions on this issue as yet and it will be taken only after vetting and approval of the proposal. The pace at which this will be implemented will vary but some segments such as commercial have so many rules that a lot of people have to be retrained, said a source. There is no official word on this proposal yet.

Indian Railways has 12 lakh officials and the largest cost for the national transporter is staff cost.

Rationalising staff as Railways moved towards modernisation has been part of several railway recommendation reports. Over the last many years, staff rationalisation was also achieved through outsourcing activities such as catering, station modernisation, among others.

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Published on June 10, 2020
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