ER, SER witnesses marginal decline in rail passenger traffic

Kolkata: Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway – two zonal railways headquartered in Kolkata — have registered a marginal decline in the passenger traffic during the year 2015-16.

Eastern Railway registered a decline of 0.72 per cent during 2015-16 till the month of October. During the same period, South-Eastern Railway registered a decline of 1.61 per cent.

While 674.331 million passengers availed Railway services of Eastern Railway, in South-Eastern Railway, the number of passengers was about 149.44 million.

R.K.Gupta, the acting General Manager of both the zonal railways, said here on Monday that the decrease in passenger traffic is due to better road conditions prompting passengers of suburban railways to switch to road traffic.

Senior railway officials however refuse to accept the logic. “Go to any suburban railway station in the evening and you will not be able to board a train. I think there is some lacunae where the number of passengers is not being reflected properly,” a senior retired official, who has served in one of the zonal railways, said.

Meanwhile, the gross earnings of the South-Eastern Railway increased by 8.9 per cent while that of the Eastern Railway have come down by 4.17 per cent. Mr Gupta said that decrease of “earning of Eastern Railway is due to closure of non-CIL (Coal India Limited) coal loading”.

About 70 per cent of the total loading in the Railway is from coal and as captive coal blocks have been allocated to State Electricity Boards since April 1, 2015, the loading of non-CIL coal has been zero, he pointed out.

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