ECoR and SCR have no plans to operate Sankranti specials
Sankranti, also known as ‘pedda panduga’, is the time of the year when Telugus make it a point to visit their native places and celebrate the festival along with their family and friends. Trains are the most sought-after mode of transport in view of safety, reliability, and low cost. Thousands of people from Visakhapatnam and North Andhra districts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam have settled in Hyderabad, Chennai, and other cities and towns of the country.
Needless to say that trains bound for Hyderabad run to full capacity almost all through the year. When that is the case, the demand for berths during Sankranti and other festivals is a foregone conclusion.
Ironically, both the East Coast Railway and the South Central Railway do not seem to have any plans to introduce special trains. Neither of the two zones has made any announcement so far though Pongal is just round the corner. Border disputes and path constraints between the two railway zones are believed to be the reasons for the ‘disinterest’ in running special trains. SCR had operated only a few specials last year due to shortage of loco pilots, guards, and other constraints like inadequate number of platforms at Secunderabad.
The specials announced by ECoR last year had to be withdrawn on the ground that it was not informed to SCR in advance. It was an indication of lack of coordination, understanding, and communication between the various wings of SCR and ECoR.
This is forcing many passengers to travel in unreserved compartments and others to cancel their journeys. “Can the ECoR authorities ignore the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri and abstain from running specials?” ask rail users.
The Waltair division officials claim that they are in a comfortable position as far as supply of rakes is concerned. When that is the case, why is ECoR unable to take a timely decisions to obtain the path and run specials to Secunderabad, Tirupati, and Chennai, which are the routes with huge wait list, as tickets are booked 120 days ahead of Pongal?
Creation of a new zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters or bringing Waltair Division under the purview of SCR is the only way to provide better services to the local people, feel those watching the developments.