Guruvayur Passenger hit by bogie crisis again
Three days after the Kerala high court asked the railways to explore possibilities of adding extra bogies to the passenger train on the Guruvayur-Ernakulam stretch, the railways on Monday did exactly the opposite they removed two bogies, resulting in massive overcrowding.
The Guruvayur-Ernakulam passenger that usually operates with 14 general compartments conducted the services on Monday with 12 bogies owing to the shortage of coaches.Following this, the train was overcrowded and commuters, especially students, were forced to travel hanging from doors and putting their lives at risk.
“The Guruvayur-Ernakulam passenger witnesses peak load every day , particularly on Monday . Even after repeated requests to increase bogies, railways authorities have always reduced the number of bogies for reasons only known to them,“ said Thrissur railway passengers' association general secretary P Krishnakumar.The association has been demanding an increase in the number of bogies from 12 to 18.
Sources from the railways admit that while the normal capacity of a passenger compartment is 72, each bogie of the Guruvayur-Ernakulam passenger carries at least 300 passengers on any given day .
“The same train operates between Alappuzha and Ernak ulam before it starts the next service. Two days ago, two bogies of the train had to be removed for repairs at Alappuzha and there were no bogies available for replacement that caused the Monday's overcrowding.We are looking into possibilities of adding three to four extra coaches to the train and high-level discussions are on. However, nothing has materialised so far,“ said a railway officer.
Another senior officer with the Thiruvananthapuram railway division said that severe coach shortage has started to affect daily passenger rail services in the division, the largest coach handling division in the country .
Three convicted for blocking train
Kochi: Three years after commuters blocked a passenger train for running late by squatting on the tracks at Ernakulam Junction railway station, a district court sentenced three of them to a day's imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on September 25.
The three Unni, Sony and Anil, all regular passengers in the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train along with others had blocked a Kottayam-bound passenger train on March 15, 2011, after the Shoranur-bound passenger train was delayed by over an hour. Two months after the incident, railway protection officers contacted them.
“They told us that cases were registered against us for delaying the rail service and financial loss. Cases were registered against six people including the three of us. While one of them is working in the Gulf, another person died. We have no clue about the sixth accused,“ one of the convicted said. The railways identified them based on photographs and video footage.
It was the same train from which Soumya, a 23-year-old woman from Manjakkad near Shornur, was pushed out, raped and murdered. Incidentally, the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger still runs late regularly.