East Coast Railway ignoring Railway Board directions, says RTI activist

The Railway Board proposes, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) disposes. This seems to be the maxim as far as allotment of coaches to trains originating from Visakhapatnam is concerned.

“Ignoring protests from various groups over replacement of new coaches allotted by a circular (dated June 7, 2012) to the Visakhapatnam-Chennai and Visakhapatnam-Sai Nagar Shirdi Weekly Express trains, which were flagged off in December 2012, the ECoR is running the recently introduced Visakhapatnam-Bhagat Ki Kothi Express with old coaches,” says RTI activist B. Venkat of Chennai, who travelled by the train.

Being conversant with the functioning of the Railways, he checked the coach numbers and was aghast on seeing decades’ old coaches used for the new train.

Railway Board circular

He noted down the numbers of all the coaches to highlight the injustice being done by the ECoR in replacing new coaches with old ones. He found that except the S 9 coach, manufactured in 2013, all the other coaches were old.

The Railway Board, in its circular (dated July 2, 2013) to the General Managers of various zones noted about the allotment of rakes from the 2013-14 production to various zones. It also noted that the coaches should be used to form rakes for the trains specified as detailed in its annexure. It also sought sending of the ‘marking particulars’ of these coaches.

The Visakhapatnam-BGKT was allotted 17 ICF coaches, including SLRD-2, GS-6, GSCN-6, ACCN-2 and ACCW-1.

Similarly, the Visakhapatnam-Tata Express was allocated 16 coaches and Visakhapatnam-Kollam was given 17 coaches as per the same circular.

It may be recalled that new coaches of the Visakhapatnam-Chennai and Visakhapatnam-Sai Nagar Shirdi weekly express trains were replaced with old ones soon after the launch of the train in December 2012.

“The spare coaches allotted in the circular were also taken away, giving little scope to augment coaches to popular trains during the peak season,” says Mr. Venkat.

Inquiry sought

When new rakes are being allotted by the Railway Board to trains originating in Visakhapatnam, why should the zonal authorities change the configuration? He demanded a high-level inquiry by the Railway Board in this regard and initiation of appropriate action.

Creation of a new railway zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters is the only solution to end the decades-long injustice being done to one of the highest revenue-earning divisions in the country, he avers.

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