Abdul Latheef Naha
Stations, with just one counter, unable to issue tickets to all passengers
NILAMBUR: Ticket-less travel is on the rise on the five shuttle trains between Nilambur and Shoranur — not because passengers here love to cheat but owing to limited facilities for issuing tickets at major stations on the route.
Long queues of passengers are seen at a ticket counter each at Nilambur and Angadipuram even when the train arrives on the platform. Many board the train without buying ticket as the train does not wait for them.
Although there have been demands for opening additional ticket counters at the two stations with an increase in the number of passengers and trains in recent years, the Railway authorities have rejected them, saying that new counters would be unviable.
People run to board trains after buying tickets at Nilambur and Angadipuram, the two major stations on this 65-km route. Quarrels with Railway staff are common. Many people conveniently avoid buying tickets as there will hardly be a ticket examiner on this route.
“Why do we buy tickets when the Railways cannot provide them,” asked a college student insisting that his name not be revealed. He belonged to a large group of students who commuted on this route without buying tickets.
Rarely does one meet a ticket examiner on this route, especially on the morning and evening trains.
“The Railway should consider the loss it incurs by allowing people to travel ticket-less,” said Biju Nainan, general secretary of the Nilambur-Mysore Railway Action Council.
Railway officials pointed out that many passengers could not buy tickets as they reached the station only minutes before the train arrived. “Reaching the station well in advance is not possible always,” says Hamza Kurikkal, a lawyer at Nilambur.
Nilambur has an average 2,000 passengers a day for five trains. With 400 people boarding a train on an average, issuing tickets to all of them through a single counter is impossible, passengers pointed out. Although the Railways have sanctioned unreserved ticketing systems for Angadipuram and Nilambur stations, these are yet to be installed. The officials said there was no space for the machines.
A computerised passenger reservation system has been installed at Angadipuram. But Nilambur is yet to get that facility. Railway sources said both the systems would be simultaneously installed at Nilambur. However, passengers pointed out that installing the new facility without opening an additional counter would worsen the situation.