Mayhem at Kacheguda station

Picture this. At 6 in the morning and there seems to be calm outside Kacheguda station. Then, an announcement that Venkatadri Superfast Express had arrived at platform number three, leads to mayhem. A sea of passengers coming out of the station entrance is when the serenity is taken over by chaos. The autorickshaw drivers are all over the road trying to persuade any potential customer to hire their auto. People who had their four wheelers parked until now in the car parking have their vehicles parked right in front of the station entrance obstructing the smooth flow of traffic and those who chose to travel by bus are running across the road amidst this traffic to catch their bus. The sad part is that there are only two policemen to control the traffic chaos, who seem most of the times busy controlling the nuisance caused due to autorickshaw drivers.

The scenario is repeated every morning at Kacheguda railway station making the place a potential accident zone.

Kacheguda railway station got the INTACH Heritage award in 2004. Though the structure seems in good shape, what it needs now are solutions to the issues being faced by the passengers. Two issues plague the station. One is the chaotic traffic in front of station entrance whenever a train arrives, especially in the mornings and the other being unruly behaviour of autorickshaw drivers.

Though autorickshaws have electronic meters installed and the minimum fare for autos has been increased from Rs.14 to Rs.16, only a handful of auto drivers agree to accept fare according to the meter while others charge exorbitant fares. Gopal Reddy, a physics teacher from Nalgonda who had arrived from Chittoor agreed to pay Rs.120 from Kacheguda to Imlibun bus station because no auto driver was ready to accept less than that amount as he had “luggage”. The luggage with him was two bags and a science project.

“Every time I come from Chittoor I have to face this issue of haggling over rickshaw fares even though auto drivers have got meter installed. Now I am paying Rs.250 to go till Mehdipatnam from Kacheguda,” said Rakesh, a frequent traveller.

There is no prepaid auto system in place but fortunately there are a few autorickshaw drivers who come to the station as early as 5 a.m. and form a queue. This queue is manned by a traffic policeman and it comes as a boon to passengers whose trains arrive early in the morning. The passengers make a queue and the policeman sees to it that the autos are hired one by one in the queue and agree to accept fare according to meter.

The bus shelter abutting the station which is the halting point for buses plying on the Secunderabad route has been rendered useless.

The LIC’s Single Premium Bima Bachat policy has taken precedence over passenger’s comfort as a hoarding advertising this policy has been erected on the bus stand in such a way that the hoarding’s frame makes it impossible for the passengers to use the bus stand.

There is a need for regulation of traffic at this station for the benefit of the innumerable tired passengers who would hope for a breather after a long journey.

V. Nilesh

Autorickshaw drivers are all over the road trying to persuade any potential customer while cars are parked right in front of the station entrance obstructing the smooth flow of traffic

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