Railways dishes out English lessons to Delhi porters

Programme is in view of the Commonwealth Games


The Railway Ministry has launched a unique project for “grooming” about 2,800 porters of the Delhi division in the first phase in view of the Commonwealth Games. It will be subsequently implemented in other divisions across the country.

Taking a cue from China, which launched soft skill programmes for cab drivers ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the Railways has rolled out the initiative involving training of porters in spoken English and courtesy.

The fortnight-long programme, which commenced on Tuesday, will cover 20 porters each from New Delhi and Delhi stations and 10 from Nizamuddin.

They will pick up five English sentences a day during their two-hour training by commercial inspectors. Subsequently, a porter will teach two of his colleagues.
“They would also serve as a one-stop point both for foreign tourists and domestic travellers, providing information about places of tourist interests, taxi fares and the Commonwealth Games stadia among others,” Ashwini Lohani, DRM, Delhi division, told Deccan Herald.

“Coolies are the first point of interaction for outsiders visiting Delhi. We want that every visitor coming to Delhi gets back with a good friendly image of the city,” Lohani said. The training programme will include polishing soft skills and being courteous to passengers.

In the second phase, which is likely to commence in April, a private agency specialised in customer care might be roped in to teach courtesy and good manners to porters.

“Training in this phase might involve some expenditure as we have to rope in a private agency and also because the porter will be compensated for the loss of his daily wage as he has to spend his entire day for training,” another senior official told this paper.

Aesthetic looks
The porters, who would be called coolie-cum-guide, will also shed their typical red uniforms and put on something that “looks more aesthetic.”

They will guide the passengers — both domestic and foreign — on historical places in and around Delhi; taxi and bus fares; venues of the Commonwealth Games; facilities in railway stations like wheelchairs, ATMs, STD/ISD booths, waiting halls and internet café.

They will also be advised against overcharging passengers. Moreover, information boards mentioning porter rates will be displayed on every platform, instead of placing it at the entry points as is the practice now.

Learning for good
*About 2,800 porters of     the Delhi division to receive training
* Private agency to teach good manners to porters in Phase II
* Government to compensated porters for loss of wage on day of each day for attending the training session
* Porters-cum-guides will now get rid of their typical red uniforms
* Learners to be advised against overcharging passengers

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