Saturday, September 05, 2009

No goodbyes at rly station

No goodbyes at rly station
Nandini Chandrashekar, Bangalore, Sept 5, DHNS:

This Dasara, people planning to see off their friends and relatives at the City Railway station can drop the idea, as the Railways will keep their doors open only for passengers.

The Railway Board has accorded approval for all the divisions to restrict non-travellers from entering the station to avoid the surging crowds during festival season. The festival rush at railway stations has always proved to be a nightmare for the Railways, as the crowds make it difficult to ensure smooth movement of passengers, avoid ticketless travel and monitor crowds for security reasons.

Bangalore Divisional Railway Manager Akhil Agarwal told Deccan Herald that the system would be enforced at Bangalore City station for Dasara holidays.

Consideration
“The idea is to implement it only at places, where there is a severe problem with the crowds. The platform ticket counter at such places will be closed. The Railways, however, will take decisions on a need basis if senior citizens or women with children need assistance with luggage,” he said.

The DRM said that the policy would be implemented for the coming Deepavali and Christmas holidays, when crowds arrive in large numbers.

“The idea is not to inconvenience passengers, but to make it easier for them. There are instances, when we have changed the platform of a departing or an arriving train. At such times, having only passengers on the platforms makes it easy to move to the other platform,” he added. At the moment, there are no plans to restrict movement of non-passengers in Yeswantpur and Cantonment stations or in the stations at other districts. Depending on the crowd in each of the stations, a decision will be taken, he said.

The move is also expected to help the security aspect at the stations and also cut down on ticketless travel.

Stampede
A move to restrict non-passengers during festivals has been on the anvil ever since five people died in a stampede at the New Delhi Railway station during Deepavali in November, 2004.

Ten people were also injured during the surge while trying to board the Patna-bound Jan Sadharan Express train. The Railways had earlier increased the fare of platform ticket from Rs 3 to Rs 5 for a short period to discourage people from entering platforms, but it was not much of a success.

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