ECoR authorities in Bhubaneswar seem to be unaware of the importance of Sankranti

All important express trains coming to and going from Visakhapatnam towards Hyderabad, Tirupati, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi have one thing in common during the holiday season – they are full. Sankranti is round the corner but this year too the East Coast Railway (ECoR) authorities in Bhubaneswar seem to be unaware of the importance of Sankranti for Telugus or seem to have conveniently forgotten that holiday specials need to be operated from Visakhapatnam, the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and a divisional headquarters.

The special train 02728 from Secunderabad to Visakhapatnam, being operated by South Central Railway (SCR) on January 10 and 02740 on Jan 12 has a huge wait list. The 3 AC has a ‘regret wait list’ of 529 and 200, respectively, while the 2 AC WL position has crossed 164 and 33, respectively, on the two days. About II sleeper, the less said the better as almost all trains from Visakhapatnam are running to full capacity.

Ironically, the ECoR authorities are running Christmas and winter weekly trains from Bhubaneswar to Yeshwantpur and Puri to Ahmedabad as specials.

The ECoR authorities are trying to ensure that these trains are in demand and got them included in the IRTTC meet by projecting the Sankranti demand and getting them regularised in the ensuing budget. Not only are there no Sankranti specials from the city to Vijayawada, Tirupati, Chennai and Bangalore but there are also no moves to add extra coaches to the existing trains. The passengers have to depend on SCR for special trains to Vizag.

RTC’s plans

On the other hand, RTC MD J. Poornachandra Rao announced that the corporation was planning to operate 5,000 special buses all over the State for Pongal. This indicates the huge demand from passengers.

IRTTC meet

The Indian Railway Time Table Committee (IRTTC) meeting is scheduled to be held in Guwahati from January 9 to 11. It is learnt that though proposals were sought, neither Ministers nor MPs from the region have submitted any concrete proposals. “Creation of a new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam should the top priority of our MPs,” feels Praja Spandana president C.S. Rao.

Construction of sheds for MEMU trains, a Wagon Repair Shop (WRS), which was shifted to Odisha in the past, introduction of suburban trains and provision of halts to originating trains at satellite stations should also be high on their agenda.

The divisional authorities have reportedly proposed a tri-weekly train from Vizag to Bangalore and a weekly to Benares (Varanasi). “Going from past experience there is a possibility that the ECoR headquarters would ignore the proposals of Waltair or shift the allocated train to either Bhubaneswar or Puri,” feels A. Bhagavanulu, president of Uttarandhra Rashtriya Samithi (URS).

More In: Visakhapatnam