Friday, October 23, 2009

Chhath rush at railway stations

Courtsey :

NEW DELHI: With the Chhath celebrations to be celebrated from Friday, railway stations in the capital saw a huge rush of passengers going to Bihar

and Uttar Pradesh. According to Anant Swarup, CPRO, Northern Railway, around eight lakh commuters boarded various trains from the New Delhi, Old Delhi and the Sarai Rohilla stations.

"We wanted to avoid a stampede like situation and hence decided to shift several Chhath special trains to platform 2 of Sarai Rohilla station,'' said Anant.

Anant said Northern Railway decided to run most Bihar-bound trains from platform 16 at the New Delhi station. "The idea behind the exercise is to prevent passengers from using the foot overbridges. Since the overbridges remain congested, we do not want to take any chances. All entries at the station for trains to Bihar should ideally be made from the Ajmeri Gate side. We have taken the help of civil defence personnel along with RPF and GRP to manage the crowd,'' added Anant.

Sources at New Delhi railway station said the concept has not really kicked off on the ground. "There are problems in the implementation of the concept. One, most passengers to Bihar take bus rides to reach the station and most many of these buses terminate at the Paharganj side. Two, though the police manage the crowd at the station, many passengers tend to board the trains at smaller stations. They then force passengers in the reserved class to accommodate them on their berths,'' said a senior railway official.

Sources in Northern Railway said all Chhath Specials were being brought to the platform escorted by security personnel. "We have also deployed additional forces in and around the platform, and have instructed the RPF to ensure that the passengers do not arrive at the platform several hours before the scheduled departure of their train,'' said a railway spokesperson.

Kishan Kumar, who is going to Patna by the Bihar Sampark Kranti express, complained of jam-packed coaches. "By the time, I entered the compartment, it was completely packed,'' he told Times City.

Following the Mathura train accident the schedule of several trains have also been disrupted. Railway officials said the situation was gradually improving. "The trains have started following the schedule though it might take a few more hours for things to become completely normal,'' said an official at the New Delhi station.