Trains announced in budget yet to be introduced

Thanks to the indifference of local MPs, the saga of injustice to Waltair Division continues even a decade after its merger in East Coast Railway, which has its headquarter in Bhubaneswar.

Extension of trains originating from Visakhapatnam to Bhubaneswar and Puri, shifting of railway projects from Visakhapatnam to Odisha, partiality in the allocation of funds for development works such as laying new lines and doubling works, diversion of important trains via Duvvada… the list seems endless and this has been going on for the last several years, according to information gathered by various organisations from railway sources.

To add insult to injury, the ECoR dispensation in Bhubaneswar is contemplating reducing the frequency of the popular Visakhapatnam – Kollam bi-weekly special to a weekly. However, the Kairali Arts Club (KAC) of Gajuwaka has been demanding increase in the frequency to thrice a week in view of the huge demand for the train, especially during the Sabarimala season.

KAC president N. Dhanapalan has already submitted a representation to Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar seeking continuation of the special train to Kollam till the regular train, which was announced in the last budget, is introduced.

Draws flak

ECoR’s proposal to reduce the frequency of a bi-weekly special to Kollam during the peak season has drawn flak from various quarters. SCR has announced 128 specials to Kollam from various places, including one from Kakinada. The regular trains from Visakhapatnam to Gandhidham, Jhodpur, Tatanagar, and Kollam, announced in the last budget are yet to be introduced and the conversion of Visakhapatnam-LTT Express from bi-weekly to daily is being delayed on the plea of lack of coaches.

The Visakhapatnam Region of RTC has earned revenue of Rs.40 lakh through the operation of 27 special buses from Visakhapatnam to Sabarimala during the last 10 days, according to RTC Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (Rural) P. Jeevan Prasad.

The ECoR administration earlier had reduced the frequency of Sai Nagar Shirdi Express. The injustice does not end there, the SNSI (Shirdi) Express is likely to be reduced to an ordinary express from January 2014 as was the case with Visakhapatnam – CST Express.

Only a new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam can end the ‘injustice’ feel representatives of Vizag Development Council (VDC) which has representatives drawn from industry, trade and civil society.