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Updated: January 30, 2013 08:45 IST

Railroaded passengers go on warpath

Special Correspondent
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SHANGHAIED: A passenger said the coach was shabby and unfit.
SHANGHAIED: A passenger said the coach was shabby and unfit.

Agitation delays Patna-bound Sanghamitra Express by an hour

Some 60 passengers of the Patna-bound Sanghamitra Express, who had booked their berths on a 3-tier, air-conditioned coach, got the shock of their lives on Tuesday morning when the railway authorities offered them a creaky sleeper coach instead.

When they turned up at the station, they were told the AC coach was undergoing extensive repairs and downgraded them to a sleeper coach.

A furious passenger, Tabish Ashraf, told The Hindu considering Patna was a tedious 50 hours away and that he had paid for the expensive ticket, he saw no reason why the railway authorities could not arrange an alternative AC coach.

Mr. Ashraf, who called The Hindu from the City Railway Station, also described railway staff as being casual in their conduct.

N. Ramesh, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bangalore Division of South Western Railway, insisted the division did not have an alternative AC coach. “We are providing bed rolls to passengers and are refunding the differential fare,” he told The Hindu.

However, Mr. Ashraf, a software engineer, rubbished the bed rolls claim saying the SWR personnel on the spot were reluctant to make good even that promise.

All they wanted to do was to get the passengers on board and get the train moving.

Though the passengers stopped the train’s departure twice by pulling the chain, the authorities said they would be provided with the bed rolls once they got going. They finally did, at 10 a.m., an hour behind schedule.

“But once we were on the train, they declined to provide the bed rolls. They just wanted us to board,” Mr. Ashraf said. The sleeper coach was in shabby condition and was unfit for travel, he added.

He said he viewed this as a serious lapse and plans to move the consumer forum for deficiency of service.

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