Nagpur (NGP): Five years after it was announced in the rail budget, the city’s first railway reservation counter to function from post office opened in Ayodhya Nagar in Sakkardara area on Wednesday. The counter will function between 8am and 2pm. It was commissioned by South East Central Railway (SECR) Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Alok Kansal. Nagpur post master general (PMG) Vandita Kaul was also present.
The facility will go a long way in benefiting residents of South and East Nagpur areas who used to come to reservation counters at either main station or Ajni. SECR has reservation counters at Motibagh and Itwari. Railway reservation facility through post-offices was first announced in 2009 by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier, Central Railway had proposed five counters at GPO, Shankar Nagar, Hingna MIDC and Kamal Talkies Chowk post offices. However, the proposal was dropped by the railway headquarters in view of city already having sufficient number of railway’s own counters. “Our focus is on post-offices in rural areas and accordingly we have opened counters in Shahapur and Sarni in MP. Two more are proposed in Betul and Bhaisdehi in MP,” said Central Railway PRO PD Patil.
Patil said in Nagpur there are 17 reservation counters besides 12 authorized rail travel service agents (RTSA). “Though we have kept all options open, there is greater need for such counters at post-offices in rural parts where people have to come a long way to book tickets,” he added.
However, Patil failed to explain rush of passengers at the counters. ZRUCC member Basant Shukla said the rush was due to closure of 50% counters at main station and Ajni. More counters were needed looking into the increasing number passengers and trains, he said.
Central Railway sources countered this saying more counters were not needed in view of increasing number of e-tickets. Of every 100 tickets sold , 45 were e-tickets and their number is growing. “You need to justify counters through ticket sales, which is just 110 daily at each counter at Nagpur and Ajni. It should be over 200,” said an official.