Northern Railway to leverage WhatsApp to monitor cleanliness in trains


Indian Railway, which is notorious for its time delays, technical errors, and above all unhygienic practices is now looking to curb the issues by leveraging instant messenger WhatsApp.

Even though government cleanliness drive dubbed as ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ led by PM Modi has been emphasising on it for a while, but it will take a long time to bring about change due to lack of monitoring at the ground level.

One of the busiest railway zones in India, Northern Railway has taken the lead and it will monitor the cleanliness of its trains using WhatsApp groups administered by senior officials.

According to Northern Railway General Manager Vishwesh Chaube, WhatsApp groups have been created for train and pantry cleanliness, bedrolls, and functionality of air conditioners in trains.

Every department will have a separate WhatsApp group, in which status report with time-stamped photographs of cleanliness will be uploaded on a daily basis by onboard housekeeping staff (OBHS).

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This is the second such service of WhatsApp being used by Railway. Earlier, it had deployed the free interface to provide live updates of all trains through a WhatsApp number 7349389104.

Not only WhatsApp, Railway is also looking to enhance the facilities by leveraging Artificial Intelligence that can be used in predictive maintenance to improve asset management and crowd management.

In April, the largest employer provider of India also hinted to exploring the use of automated chatbots to respond faster to train-related queries and enhance customer experience.

Besides planning to equip 11,000 trains and 8,500 stations with 12 lakh CCTV cameras, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had also said that he is planning a complete overhaul of the signaling system (by implementing ETCS2 signaling system) which is said to be at the root of majority rail accidents in the country.

The development was first reported by Indian Express.

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