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4 PR in Indian Railways

Indian Railways is an Indian state-owned enterprise, owned and operated
by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. It is one of
the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km (71,000 mi)
of track over a route of 65,000 km (40,000 mi) and 7,500 stations. In
2011, IR carried over 8,900 million passengers’ annually or more than 24
million passengers daily (roughly half of which were suburban passengers)
and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. In 2011–2012 Indian Railways had
revenues of Rs. 1119848.9 million (US$19 billion) which consists of Rs.
696759.7 million (US$12 billion) from freight and Rs. 286455.2 million
(US$4.8 billion) from passengers tickets.
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853 from Bombay to Thane. In
1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, the Indian Railways,
becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long
distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad,
metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production
facilities at several places in India and are assigned codes identifying their
gauge, kind of power and type of operation. Its operations cover twenty
nine states and seven union territories and also provide limited
international services to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Indian Railways is the world's ninth largest commercial or utility employer,
by number of employees, with over 1.4 million employees. As for rolling
stock, IR holds over 239,281 Freight Wagons, 59,713 Passenger Coaches
and 9,549 Locomotives (43 steam, 5,197 diesel and 4,309 electric
locomotives). The trains have a 5 digit numbering system as the Indian
Railways runs about 10,000 trains daily. As of 31 March 2013, 23,541 km
(14,628 mi) (36%) of the total 65,000 km (40,000 mi) route length was
electrified. Since 1960, almost all electrified sections on IR use 25,000 Volt
AC traction through overhead catenary delivery.

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Along with the other hierarchical department the organisation too has a PR department at each zonal offices consisting of a CPRO. commercial. All the PR 2 . The PR department is directly under the control of General Manager. Publicity Officers and other employees such as the clerks and peons. which are further subdivided into divisions.fledged Public Relations department in 1960s. operating. There are a total of sixty-eight divisions. The Railways initially visualised the role of public relations as that of information dissemination is evident from the fact that the PR department in the Ministry of Railways is still called the Information & Public Relations Directorate. Each of the seventeen zones is headed by a general manager who reports directly to the Railway Board. Indian Railways is divided into several zones. The divisional officers of engineering. mechanical. Further down the hierarchy tree are the station masters who control individual stations and the train movement through the track territory under their stations' administration. The Indian Railways is one of the first government departments to establish a full. PROs. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from six to eight in 1951.On 23 April 2014. personnel. electrical. accounts. signal and telecommunication. security and safety branches report to the respective Divisional Manager and are in charge of operation and maintenance of assets. Indian Railways introduced a mobile app system to track train schedules. nine in 1952 and sixteen in 2003 and now seventeen. each having a divisional headquarters. Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions. The zones are further divided into divisions under the control of divisional railway managers (DRM).

drinking water. Detailed SOPs will also be devised by all concerned for dispatch. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Railways: Natural Disasters: The Civil Engineering Department at the field level and on the Divisions gets information through advance warning sent by the respective Government Departments on the possibility of floods. Standard Operating Procedures (SPOs): The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Terrorism related disaster) for which they are earmarked as the lead Ministry for disaster response. cyclones. All Central Ministries. etc. etc. earthquakes. medical assistance and casualty management. In those DMPs are mentioned clearly how to act. State Governments. evacuation. State Governments and District Authorities. Thus when a crisis occurs they work together to overcome and restore it as soon as possible. Depending on the gravity of the disaster/crisis/calamity expected the information would be passed on to the Divisional officers through the Emergency Control which will act as the ICS. relief and mitigation.g. receipt and deployment of central resources. They have prepared the Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) for handling man-madedisasters(for e. Moreover the PR departments have their own set of Disaster Management Plans at each zone also which are revised from time to time to avoid unplanned crisis. the other important activities are provision of food. sanitation. as the nodal Ministry is responsible for coordinating response and relief efforts with various Ministries/ Departments of the Government of India.departments of the zones are interconnected to each other. clothing and management of relief camps. District Authorities and other stakeholders will prepare SOPs in consonance with the National and State Plans. After making the train 3 . in times of particular situations of crisis. The SOPs will be prescribed for activities like search and rescue. Where train operations have to be suspended or regulated the operating departments would suitably advise. whom to contact. landslides etc. restoration of essential services and communication at disaster sites.

Headquartered in Maligaon. A similar system would be followed as above in organising regulation of train services by the operating department at the divisional. Guwahati in the state of Assam it is responsible for rail operations in the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. Assistance of other Divisions and from the Zonal Railways would be taken through the Headquarter of the ZonalRailways (i. The Headquarter Security Control will coordinate with the IOC of MHA. Man-made Disaster: Different forms of terrorism fall under the ambit of these disasters. Alerts to the passengers would be issued through the PR department of the Railway in the Print and Electronic Media. by involving the General Manager).e.5 PR in NF Railway The Northeast Frontier Railway abbreviated as N F Railway is one of the 17 railway zones in India. Coordination with the IOC of MHA and NDMA/NDRF would be through the Emergency Control of each Zonal Headquarter.regulation plan the divisional control would advise the commercial and security departments for management of the welfare of passengers. It is divided into 5 divisions:  Alipurdaur Railway Division 4 . The DRMs on the divisions shall ensure coordination amongst the departments for ensuring running of train services (including relief special trains) as also relief arrangements for the passengers and for the Welfare of Railways own staff. The Security Control of the division will act as the ICS. zonal level and also in the Railway Board. A major role has to played by the Security Department of the Railways who will coordinate with the State Governments and when required the Para-military and other forces. 3.

the North Eastern Railway (India) and the Northeast Frontier Railway. Later.To better serve the needs of the north-eastern states. Each group of employees has sufficient work for the 5 . provide technical and operational support to the divisions in train operations. commercial. In 1881. Each of these divisions is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager. personal and medical are headed by a Senior Administrative Grade / Higher Administrative Grade officer. operations. Various departments namely engineering. The 65 km long metre gauge line from Dibrugarh to Margherita was constructed mainly for transportation of tea and coal. For the smooth running of railway network the PR department plays a keys role which is a vast network. Further these two PROs are helped by a number of employees categorised in different groups. The departmental setup at headquarters level and divisional setup in the field assists the General Manager in running the railways.    Katihar Railway Division Lumding Railway Division Rangiya Railway Division Tinsukia Railway Division. Under his/her proper management and guidance the whole network is runned efficiently. accounts. The PR department is a vast conceptual department which is under the jurisdiction of the Chief Public Relation Officer. The North Eastern Railway was formed on 14 April 1952 by amalgamating two Railway systems: the Assam Railway and Oudh and Tirhut Railway. safety. mechanical. Since it is a huge department engulfing a lot of priorities the CPRO is assisted by two Public Relation Officers. electrical. a Senior Administrative Grade officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India. This company later started first passenger train in Assam by the name DibruSadiya Railway. Railway first entered in Assam when Assam Railway and Trading Company set up metre gauge track. signal & telecom. it was bifurcated into two railway zones on 15 January 1958. security.

This important department of the NF Railway also has a photography department which take care and handles all the eventual documents along with photographs. marketing advertising. peons. the specific advertising includes social awareness advertising. While the normal one consists of tender notices etc. The group C and D employees is basically sub divided into Publicity Inspectors who help the officers in carrying out all the public relations activities. They are published as because they are part of the procedure or the rules are framed so to cater the needs and requirements of the organisation. These advertisements are specifically set for certain 6 . This department comprises a readymade staff of clerks. Some of the importants are mentioned below:Advertising: One of the most essential parts to have a smooth running of the PR department in NF Railway is the advertisements. While the tender notices are specifically meant for the contractors. informative advertising and so on.. The advertisements need can be categorised into normal or routine ones and (b) specific or need based ones.e. The other two groups i. It is such a factor which not only takes care of the entire organisation but also promotes the NF Railway in the frontbench or to say it shows the development of the north-east through the networks. The CPRO falls under a group A officer while the PROs are group B officers.. a vendor etc. The PR department of NF Railway deals with various types of work. The normal or routine advertisements basically focus on the tender notices or other notices which are legal in nature.managing the network. other advertisements in this category calls for expression of interest for particular work. C and D employees work under the group A and B officers. These specific photographs are placed under the group C officers. office superintendents and typists. The advertising covers the entire 5 divisions of the NF Railway.

When published the newspapers departments departments submit the copies of the advertisements who in who return requires sends these them to the to the PR other publications. accidents. Specific advertisements. This advertisement informs the public about the dos and don’ts related to the railway activities.public. In other words they are designed to serve the publicity need of the organisation only. pamphlets and even through television advertisements. The PR department communicates these advertisements in simple language for the public and display them in print and electronic media. These advertisements involve the commercial.g. Thus the organisation themselves publish such type socially award advertisement for the well-being of the people. 7 . mechanical breakdown of engines. Notices regarding bandh or strike. many people try to cross the train lines when the gates are closed just before the train arrives. As a result it affects its images and publicity in general. etc. Such type of advertisements shows the introduction of a new train. As such the NF Railway does the same by printing leaflets. posters. Another type of advertising is social awareness advertising. aims at informing. track conditions. Internal communication: Unlike other organisation the NF Railway too keep a close touch with their internal public. operating and safety department of the NF Railway. Daily notices are published for their employees by the higher authority. carrying capacity of a train etc. These advertisements to the PRO are a source of request to publish them in newspapers. respective However. But it should not be done as at times accidents occur due to this irresponsibility. this advertisement becomes a very poor quality of advertisements since the NF Railway does not take my assistance from proper advertising agencies. The PROs chalked out a plan to publish these advertisements in media basically the newspaper. For e. policies and developments of the organisation to the public through specifically designed messages. educating and motivating people about the plan. on the other hand. They are also called as display advertisements.

It helps to maintain a good and healthy communication among the public in developing and upgrading the railway network through the north. It not enhance the promotional growth of the department but also helps the public in large. suggestions etc. conducting competitions. The department associates itself with inaugural functions like introducing new trains on tracks. Monitoring media: The PR department always work round the clock and monitor the media for the grievances arised through complains. The PR department also celebrates Republic Day. The employees of the PR department maintaina good rapport personal and cordial relation with the people of the media under their jurisdictions. External communications: The external communication under the PR department is nothing but the communication to the public through news. laying foundation stones etc. The electronic media is regularly monitored by the CPRO. These notices reach the employees through the PR department as they treat these before they are being circulated to the various departments. PROs and the PIs round the clock in order to give an update report and find solutions for the grievances. setting up of schools. The General Manager then sends these press clippings to the 13 departments for immediate action. advertisements and letter to the editors.is given to the employees every day. 8 . Events & ceremonies: Organising events and ceremonies are part of the PR department. The system adopted by the PR department thoroughly scans the newspapers in the morning by their Publicity Inspectors. For such ceremonies the sole responsibility lies on the hands of the PR department.east. These grievances are reported to the General Manager on a daily basis through compiled report called as Press Clippings. self-employment of the widows of the railway employees are well organised by the PR department. The external communication organises press conferences and press tours for the significant development required in the department. Exhibitions. Independence Day etc. They make the notices easily digestible by the public without hampering the scheduled work.

the PR department of the PR department of the NF Railway share the above roles and responsibilities. Last but not the least the railway has strictly mentioned who has the authority to speak before the media. So. Among with the crisis management is of great importance as though its planned earlier yet its outbreak is a sudden one. There are three Chief Publicity Inspectors. Also the permission for shooting films or television serials in and around the railway areas is given by the PR department. There are two Public Relations Officers working under the Chief Public Relations Officer. if in the cases the PRO is unable to reach the accident site than the Divisional Commercial Manager acts as the sole spokesman instead of the PRO and the Divisional Railway Manager. Thus.6 Role of PR in NF Railway in Crisis Management The Public Relations Department of Northeast Frontier Railway is headed by Chief Public Relations Officer and works under the administrative control of the Additional General Manager. 3. At zonal level the official spokesman in front of media would be the General Manager and the CPRO and at divisional level the Divisional Railway Managers has the authority to be the spokesman. The information about the disaster must be available to the media in 60 minutes from the disaster strikes. Moreover.Crisis management: The most important of the responsibilities and role is the crisis management. According to that plan the PR department has to make itself ready in 45 minutes from the time the disaster occurs or the first information they receive. To overcome in times of disaster the NF Railway has formulated a Disaster Management Plan according to which they react in as set beforehand. one Senior Publicity Inspector and one Publicity 9 . The CPRO at times allows permission and also sets the license fees for the action. Even the Railway Minister sometimes forwards such request for considerations. awareness is the key to act effectively.

Though the organisation deals with post crisis management yet the department has a pre-planned Disaster Management Plan. At times of such situation they try to recognise the problem and solve it before it arises. the NF Railway has got its full information and they reported about it all at 6:00 in the morning. When a disaster strikes as set earlier the organisation needs to work according to the DMP yet its not compulsory to wait for the affected zone to react for it. 2014. For an e.Inspector in the department besides other clerical staff. In that plan it is mentioned how and whom to contact when a disaster strikes at a particular place. Thus we can say that the railway department at the zonal level does not stand alone. The Public Relations Department is the source of information for media. 10 . At about 5:15a. But the zonal office under which the accident area belongs has not been able to prepare a report about the casualties.g. There also is a Photography section consisting of one Chief Photographer.m. This plan is revised from time to time as new tracks are set up and more areas get included in the map of NF Railway. As mentioned in the earlier chapter the PR department of the NF Railway deals with lots of responsibilities and among them managing crisis is one of the important one.m. we can speak about the recent accident of one of the Rajdhani Express that occurred at Patna on 24th June. Moreover. one Senior Photographer. As the Indian Railways is an organisation which is interlinked so any of the zones getting the full information about the incident might speak about it to the media. the PROs keep scanning the media and the organisation in a close way to pick out any adverse situation that might come up at times. It occurred at about 2:00a. two Photographers and one Bromide Printer. By doing so they maintain a healthy relation with the media personnel and also their publics (both internal and external). rather its interwoven. The accident striked at the East Central Zone.

2 and 3 were included to know about what type of crisis the organisation faced in the last 1 year and to judge how far the departments were successful in handling and overcoming these situations effectively. In case of crisis they are clearly aware about their responsibilities and can go about doing their work in a disciplined manner.Analysisof survey results Primary data for the study was collected through a use of a questionnaire. The questions were set in such a manner which would help to conclude the study by arriving at a particular result. Q no. crisis management and issue of advertisement etc. All respondents answered (d) which clearly indicates that employees are aware about the duties and responsibilities of the PR department. Our primary investigation revealed that N. The respondents were asked to answer the questions present on the questionnaire. Railway Public Relations department has several routine activities including. This awareness makes it easier for the organization to handle crisis because basic awareness about duties and responsibilities by all the employees makes them receptive to any situation that may arise. 1 for it. responsibilities of the department and designed Q no. We wanted to find out the awareness of the employees about the activities. F. Care was taken to avoid biasness and ambiguity while collecting the data. 11 . organising ceremonial functions.

Q no.Respondents could not accurately answer to how many crisis they handled during the last 1 year but to approximately 22. It seems that more than half the respondents are aware of the fact that the existing disaster management plan needs no improvement as every year it is revised and the necessary changes are done from time to time. They said in all the cases it were effectively handled as they informed the media with correct information in time and also abled to restore the situation in a short period of time in a well maintained manner.e. rescuing casualties and restoring the journeys quite effectively. From this we could directly come to the conclusion of effective crisis management of the organisation without any hesitation. Out of the 30 respondents 23 of them said (b) i. 4 was an open ended one left to them to how they would speak on the successfulness of their work. Q no. All of them spoke in the same manner as the above Qs that they could successfully maintain the entire crisis situation by handling all aspects like media.25 such situations occurred and all were accident cases. From the above answers to the respondents it is concluded that the organisation is quite well assisted in managing crisis situations. 5 was to confirm if there was any need to improve the existing disaster management plan to ensure more excellency in managing adverse situation. 12 . But the respondents who did not replied to it at all are unaware of the fact and are not related to such activities so they were reluctant to reply to it. no and the rest 7 did not answer to the question.

nearest hospital.e. Here. Thus this question was included to know the measures taken by the organisation to avoid such problems. But to know in whose hand the final decision lays we designed this question.e. A yearly house 13 . The 2 respondent who replied that they possess the policy making authority were the personnel from the Public Relations department. 6 was asked to check how often they follow the existing disaster management plan or it was just for the name-shake. the person responsible to speak at the media too is included in it. nearest police station etc. 2 of them replied that they possess decision making authority at times of crisis. Everything that needs to be done when a crisis strikes is clearly mentioned in the disaster management plan i. Thus. all the respondents replied it as (b) means the organisation often follow the disaster management plan at times of crisis.The next question i. Moreover. At times the internal public too might go against the policies of the organisation thus hampering their daily schedule as a result creating a crisis. The organisation pays for these tours to their employees. The respondents answered to this question as they are offered for family tours every year also a pass for outing is offered of their own choice. Out of 30 respondents. it can be concluded that the PR department being linked to all the other departments and zones possess the policy making authority at times of crisis. Q no. Primary data revealed that all the departments of the NF Railway work together at time of crisis to mitigate it. whom to contact when a crisis strikes at a particular place. External factors alone does not constitute in creation of crisis situation. so the organisation follow to it quite often.

IV.3 Conclusion 14 .journal is published every year where the awards and achievements are included along with other articles. VI. activities of the PR department. life by any means. PR department is quiet effective in managing crisis and also III. From the answers received from the respondents it can be concluded that the organisation tries to keep a well-balanced mutual relation with its internal public thus avoiding crisis from them. This encourages the employees to work with more enthusiasm. Also another magazine is published by the NF Railway Mazdoor Union every year expressing their own voice over matters of the organisation. All the zones of Indian Railways are well coordinated. 4. Along with the bonuses during the festivals the employees too receive yearly increments.2 Findings From the analysis and data collected we arrive at the following findings: I. Effectiveness of crisis management is never evaluated by them. There is no codification of responsibilities at zonal or central level thus they work as one unit at times of crisis. 4. Almost all the employees of the organisation is quiet aware of the II. restoring it in minimum possible time. Though NF Railway has a pre-set Disaster Management Plan yet they deal with post crisis management and try to reduce the risk to V.

15 . security and safety. the analysis after the study has proved the stated hypothesis i. Thus. The organisation consists of various departments like the engineering.e. also the other zonal offices contribute help to it. During crisis all the departments work as one unit. In spite of various daily schedules crisis management is the important among all. NF Railway being a zone of it too has to take part in it. public relations and so on.Indian Railways being the largest central government sector has to maintain huge responsibilityfor its smooth functioning. prevalent Crisis Management Plan in NF Railway is highly effective to be true. But managing crisis is not the work of the PR department alone. commercial. Among all public relations is the department linked to all the other departments and also the other zonal headquarters.