TRAIN TO BANIHAL PUTS SRINAGAR-BOUND COMMUTERS IN LURCH

Office-goers, students find revised timings inconvenient

SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI

Srinagar, July 13: The revision of train timings past extension of the service to Banihal last month, has put scores of Srinagar-bound commuters particularly the office-goers and students to inconvenience as they find it difficult to catch the train back home.
 The commuters travelling down from Anantnag (Islamabad) to Srinagar said till the start of the train service to Banihal, the timings were convenient for the office-goers and students whose day’s work finishes by around 4:00 PM and within half an hour, they would get a train to Srinagar, which would take around an hour to reach the destination.
 “Usually the Srinagar-bound train would leave Islamabad at around 4:20 PM something convenient for office-goers,” said a commuter.
 But now the timings have been changed. And even though five trains are catering the Baramulla-Srinagar-Banihal track, none looks feasible for commuters travelling back from Islamabad to Srinagar. “Now the train is available at 2:45 PM when we are at office or at 5:45 PM, which is too late,” the commuters said.
 A group of females said: “For a place like Kashmir where traffic jams consume our precious time, train service had come as a blessing, but the revised timings are proving a curse.” “How can we waste some two hours waiting for a train to Srinagar in the afternoons? This is simply illogical,” said a student who had been travelling by train.
 Failing to get any respite, the female passengers have been frequently staging Dharna on the railway tracks. The protesters include teachers, medicos and students. “But nobody is bothered about our genuine pleas,” the female folk complained.
 If this is the problem for the Srinagar bound commuters, those heading to north Kashmir from the City face similar woes. The officer-goers from Baramulla who have been traveling to Srinagar by train said they too find it difficult to reach back their homes in train. “Unlike past there are no convenient timings when by around 5:00 PM we would get a train for Baramulla. For now we have to wait till around 7:00 PM which is too late,” said a Baramulla man working as a salesman in Srinagar.
 Observers said the train timings should have been made convenient keeping Srinagar as the focus of attraction. “But what’s happening for now is that as if Srinagar is no more the Capital, for which train timings should have been the priority,” they said.
 A senior official in the railways said “timings are finalized in New Delhi and that only they can change it.” “Timings are revised and finalized by New Delhi. This cannot be changed at local level. Only the Chief Minister or some MP can pick up the issue with the concerned quarters,” the official asking not to be identified, said.
 The commuters on the other hand appealed District Magistrate Er Farooq Ahmad Shah to intervene. When contacted the DM said the matter would be picked up with the railway authorities. “We’ll look into the matter on priority basis,” the DM told Greater Kashmir

Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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