Friday, May 16, 2008

Swanky rly station, but lacks amenities

Swanky rly station, but lacks amenities
By S Lalitha,DH News Service,Bangalore:
A swanky, air-conditioned room with excellent seating arrangements. That is the passenger reservation office at Cantonment station declared open a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, some basic amenities - drinking water, toilets - have been given the go-by.

The absence of these necessities on the floor has caused inconvenience not just to the public but also for the booking staff, who have to be around for at least eight hours daily. The toilet space is caught in controversy. A portion of the floor, behind the stores and telecommunications office, had been earmarked for the construction of a ‘gents’ and ‘ladies’ toilet. The space was occupied by one of the offices of Railways Claims Tribunal and was supposed to have been vacated on May 1. This was to coincide with the vacation time for courts. “Though the office space has been vacated, the portion that housed a toilet is yet to be handed over,” said railway officials.
Employees and public now have to go down and head to Platform one or two to relieve themselves. “It is quite tough for the booking clerk to get up and go for a break when there are people desperate to get hold of a ticket,” a clerk pointed out. “The last time I came here to book a ticket, I was searching for a restroom and found it strange it was not there,” said Smitha, a lecturer at an Engineering College.
Another aspect is that four of the booking counters (nos 7, 8, 9 and 10) are yet to start functioning. “As we had nine systems operating earlier, they are equipped with booking ports and so we are able to continue operating them. Four more counters have to be upgraded with the ports for them to start functioning,” said a top officials. “We also have a shortage of staff,” he added. The steep stairs that have to be scaled to touch the first floor is another sore point with a few women.
Positive aspects
Aspects which found favour with many were the spacious hall and the seating arrangements. Shobha, a homemaker said, “We can sit down and relax when booking ticket. This is really very good.” Looks like the stainless steel dustbins similar to those found in airports have goaded the public to use them. “The station is very clean,” said Sunil Kumar M, a medical representative.


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