Staff Reporter

Railways stop booking to North India

KANNUR: Shortage of space in parcel vans attached to passenger trains bound for northern parts of the country has adversely affected movement of parcels from the region, including handloom products, electronic components manufactured by Keltron and agri-products.

Railway authorities here have stopped parcel booking for passenger trains from Thiruvananthapuram to New Delhi due to the non-availability of parcel vans. There is a backlog of articles weighing nearly 100 tonnes booked to be despatched to different parts of North India at the railway station here as a result of the parcel office here having stopped accepting parcels to Nizamuddin and other places, according to traders and industrialists here.

The North Malabar Chamber of Commerce (NMCC) on Tuesday urged the Railway authorities to allot additional bogies to clear the backlog and restart direct booking from here to the northern parts of the country. Handloom products and Keltron's electronic components booked during the last one week were lying at the railway station, it said adding that the shortage had also affected transport of betel leaves from Tirur and arecanuts from Kasaragod.

In a representation to Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, NMCC president B. Maheshchandra Baliga and secretary K. Vinod Narayanan said that the parcel van attached to the Nizamuddin-bound train was not even opened at the station here as there was no space in it by the time the train left Kozhikode.

They said that the shortage of parcel van was due to privatisation of the railway parcel service as the space for loading eight of the total carrying capacity of 12 tonnes in the van was leased to private parties. The remaining space of four tonnes always got filled with parcels from Kochi and Kozhikode areas, they said adding that this was causing hardships for traders, industrialists, public undertakings and also the public of the region. Mr. Baliga said that Railway officials cited technical difficulties in attaching more parcel vans to trains.