Lack of political pressure is said to be the reason for Waltair Division continuing to get a raw deal be it the introduction of new trains, operation of new trains, which were already announced in the last budget, or improvement of passenger amenities.
“Our MPs, who are trying to catch the attention of the party high command in a bid to secure the party ticket for the 2014 General Elections, seem to have little time for the problems of railway passengers of the region,” say railway users.
The Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Duronto Express, announced in the last budget, is yet to see the light of the day and though the Visakhapatnam – Koraput (via Vizianagaram) Intercity Express, which was also announced in the last budget as ‘5-day-a-week' train, was hurriedly introduced from Koraput a few days ago, the number of trips was curtailed to twice a week.
The recent agitation by people of Rayagada and the tacit support of people's representatives to the demand of the travelling public gives rise to the speculation that the operation of the Visakhapatnam-Koraput Intercity was curtailed to meet that demand.
Passengers from the city are questioning the wisdom of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) authorities in curtailing the trips of a train that was already announced in the budget. An inter-city express has to run six days a week or at least five days a week but the ECoR has the unique distinction of running an inter-city twice a week.
“Capacity constraints due to increase in goods traffic on the Koraput – Rayagada line has led to the curtailment of frequency of the Intercity Express. The agitation by the people of Rayagada has nothing to do in this regard as a new train Bhavanipatna – Bhubaneswar Express has been announced in this year's budget. This train will pass through Rayagada providing them a direct link to Bhubaneswar,” Divisional Railway Manager N. Kashinath told The Hindu when his attention was drawn to the issue on Monday.
He said the frequency of the Intercity Express would be increased in future.
Our people's representatives have to learn from their counterparts in Odisha and other States in meeting the genuine needs of the people, instead of fighting for the party ticket, railway users opine.