ECoR authorities augment Odisha trains with additional AC coaches, shows apathy towards Visakhapatnam Division – Vizag Railway User Group cries foul.
The East Coast Railway authorities, by their own admission, have shown a bias towards trains originating in Odisha.
A member of the Railway User Group A. Sanni Babu had written to the Ministry of Railways in the first week of May this year decrying the ‘injustice to Waltair Division’ in the allotment of AC coaches and the loss it was causing to both ECoR and Waltair Division besides untold hardship to passengers. The Railway Board had forwarded the same to the Commercial Department of East Coast Railways in Bhubaneswar.
Adding insult to injury
The ECoR headquarters in Bhubaneswar had announced on April 10 this year, the augmentation of AC coaches on 14 trains. Barring the Visakhapatnam-Korba Express, which was given an additional 3-tier AC coach, the remaining extra coaches have all been added to trains originating in Odisha.
“To add insult to injury, two more trains – Bhubaneswar Rajdhani (via Adra and Bokaro) and Bhubaneswar-Balangir-Bhubaneswar Intercity Express were augmented with additional coaches on the sly. It is the Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Janmabhoomi Express which needs another chair car and pantry car. Though it is a day train, it is one of the fastest to Secunderabad, providing affordable travel and runs all through the year,” he says.
As summer draws to a close, the Senior Transportation Manager (Coaching), Bhubaneswar, replies that augmentation is done at regular intervals by ECoR to clear extra rush ‘depending upon waitlisted passengers.’
“This is far from the truth as wait list numbers are soaring on trains from Visakhapatnam and the wait list of Bhubaneswar trains are mostly cleared,” says Mr. Sanni Babu.
“Instead of talking about the augmentation done in April this year, the STM (Coaching) gave details of adding of augmentation done way back in September last year and February this year, pertaining to Visakhapatnam trains, except the Visakhapatnam-Korba express. This shows the bias of ECoR towards Odisha”, says Mr. Sanni Babu.
The STMs contention that augmentation of AC coaches in some other important trains from Visakhapatnam, which have a huge current wait list, cannot be done pleading ‘inadequate stock’ is ‘ridiculous’, feels Mr. Sanni Babu, going on to question how 13 trains from Odisha were given extra AC coaches.
“A separate zone with Visakhapatnam as headquarters is the only solution to end the ‘continued injustice’ to Waltair Division and only a ‘political decision’ can help in achieving it,” feels Praja Spanadana president C.S.Rao.