BENGALURU: In line with the massive digital push undertaken by the Indian Railways, the e-wallet mode of payment was pushed into acceptance everywhere by the commercial wing of the Bengaluru Railway Division six months ago. Even contractors of pay-and-use toilets were goaded to urge the public to utilise this mode of payment. However, now it appears that most have not even heard of it.
Officials though, seem clueless about the ground reality. Asked about the digital drive, a top railway official told Express that Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna, Yesvantpur, Cantonment, Krishnarajapuram and Bangarpet railway stations have e-wallet mode of payment in place wherever money needs to be given.
“We have asked contractors to accept through PayTM, SBI Buddy, Bhim App and others for over six months now as part of our digital push. Apart from toilets, small catering units and parking lots accept them,” the official claimed.
Express did a reality check. In the seven toilets spread across the 10 platforms of KSR station, two of them still carry remnants of the posters advertising e-payment. However, those manning the facilities at this station appear shocked at any query on usage of PayTM or other payment modes. “How can we accept such payment for small sums like `2 or `5,” a contracted staffer on Platform 1 asked this reporter.
Another staffer outside a toilet on Platform 4 said, “I remember it was started here some months ago and we were all told to put up stickers about it. But most passengers do not even imagine it will be accepted in our place and so it is not used at all.” The situation was the same at all toilets. Catering stalls insisted only on cash.
The scene though was slightly better at Cantonment railway station. Karthik, who mans a Railway stall on Platform 1 here says, “We have the poster well in place. But public use it once in a while. May be we get `30 in a week with it. There is connectivity issue inside the station and so this facility does not work properly even when a couple of passengers attempt it.”
Roshan Kumar Jha of Prince Samajik Sansthan, which has been contracted with the only pay-and-use toilet at the station, says, “When it was started, a few passengers used to pay through this mode out of fun or curiousity. But not anymore.”
A staffer at the car parking facility of Cantonment station says, “I have accepted it once as an emergency case when a customer had no money. All my daily transactions are through cash only.”
Asked about the success of this payment mode, the railway official said, “Only 1 per cent have adopted this payment mode.” Even that figure appears far from truth bearing in mind that lakhs of passengers use these stations daily.