While certain announcements like the plan to provide Wi-Fi facility in select railway stations certainly gladdened the techies in the city, disappointment was the reigning emotion in Technopark after Union Minister for Railways Sadananda Gowda ended his railway budget speech on Tuesday afternoon.
“Yes, ideas like Wi-Fi have finally made its appearance in our budget. It remains to be seen whether it will actually be implemented on a larger scale. Also, there are much more express concerns with regard to the basic amenities in trains. Wi-Fi can probably wait,” says S. Jayakrishnan, a software engineer here.
More than the larger concern regarding the lack of new trains or projects for Kerala, the point of discussion at Technopark was centred on a small railway station which is depended upon by hundreds of employees here – the Kazhakuttam station.
In May this year, Prathidhwani, a socio-cultural organisation here, sent a letter to the Divisional Railway Manager Sunil Bajpai requesting among other things stoppage for a few trains and a ticket reservation counter at the Kazhakuttam station. Barring the ticket counter, none of the other demands have been considered yet.
“After sustained campaigning by the employees and the action council of residents, seven trains were allowed to stop here. But, it is insufficient. The private bus companies have started a number of services to cities like Bangalore and Chennai from Kazhakuttam, but Railways are yet to wake up to the need. They can put any number of trains to Bangalore and it will still be fully booked,” says Rajeev Krishnan, secretary of Pratidhwani. The employees have been requesting for stops for nine more trains, some of which could ease the daily commuting for a large section here. This includes request for stops for the Kanyakumari-Mumbai express in the mornings and the intercity express in the evenings. Also included are the trains originating from Kochuveli to Bangalore and Chennai. There is also no stop for Janashatabdi on Sunday night.