Frequent train cancellations in Kashmir annoy GoI team

Frequent train cancellations in Kashmir annoy GoI team
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A high profile team from Union Railway Ministry, which was on a two-day visit to Kashmir, has expressed dismay over frequent train cancellations in the region, a senior official said.

The team of members from Railway Board's Passenger ServiceCommittee (PSC), led by its Chairman Ramesh Chandra Ratn, concluded its two-dayvisit on Friday, at a time when Northern Railways has suspended train serviceson its Qazigund-Banihal railway section for five hours daily till the ongoingAmarnathYatra ends.

 "The improvement infrequency of train service and immediate completion of railway line to Kashmirwas focus of the team's visit," the official said.

"The frequent suspension of train service in Kashmir duringlast three years has resulted in loss of Rs 5.35 crore to the Railways. In 2018alone the service remained suspended 92 times, resulting in loss of around Rs1.21 core to the Railways," the official said.

The train service on 137-kilometer track between Banihal andBaramulla is often suspended as precautionary measure during law and ordersituation.

The official said 15 pairs of train run regularly fromBanihal to Baramulla, ferrying almost 30,000 commuters including students andgovernment employees, six days a week.

As per official data, train service has remained off thetrack in Kashmir for more than 240 days since the summer of 2016.

During the visit, the official said, the railway membersalso expressed displeasure over unhygienic condition in coaches and on therailway stations.

"The members got negative feedback from commuters atstations particularly about drinking water and conditions of washrooms," saidthe official.

The team also visited different stations including Srinagar,Budgam and Baramulla and laid stress on cleanliness of coaches as well asrailway stations," the official said, adding the team will be submitting itsrecommendations to the Union Ministry in coming days.

Off late there has been demand for increasing frequency oftrain in the Valley. However, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told theParliament recently that such a move wasn't operationally feasible.

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