‘Where is the B’luru-Thiruvananthapuram line promised 3 yrs ago?’: Techies write to PM

The techies, under the aegis of the Kerala-Bengaluru Train Users Forum, alleged that the private bus lobby could be behind the fact the train hasn’t started service yet.
‘Where is the B’luru-Thiruvananthapuram line promised 3 yrs ago?’: Techies write to PM
‘Where is the B’luru-Thiruvananthapuram line promised 3 yrs ago?’: Techies write to PM

Angered by the fact that it’s been three years since the Indian Railways promised the Yeshwantpur-Thiruvananthapuram Central Bi-weekly Superfast Express but no progress has been made on it, a group of techies in Bengaluru have petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The techies, under the aegis of Kerala-Bengaluru Train Users Forum, has now sought the intervention of the PM himself as they suspect that the private bus lobby is behind this delay.

Sreejith KS, one of the petitioners, said that they sent the petition on Thursday morning and were hopeful of a positive response.

He said, “We had started the campaign long back, which included tweeting and tagging all the ministers/ MPs. After our requests, the Tourism Minister (Alphons Kannanthanam from Kerala) spoke to the Minister of State Railways, Rajen Gohain, but after that no action has been taken.”

In the 2014-2015 Railway Budget, the then Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced the superfast express. And till date, even after Gohain assured that it would come up in June, nothing has moved from the Railways side.

The petition says, “We are writing this petition to draw your attention towards the hardships faced by thousands of rail passengers, including IT professionals, students, patients, pilgrims, government servants and tourists, who travel between various parts of Kerala and Bangalore daily. There is a growing demand for better rail connectivity between these two states. Thousands of people depend on trains as it is a safe, cheap, and convenient mode of transport. On an average, the ticket waiting list number for a weekend travel in this route is always more than WL 300. During festival seasons, this increases even more.”

It adds that their efforts to reach out to the Railways through multiple complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Taking their case forward, the techies further wrote, “Private bus operators run about 600 buses on weekends. The rush is even more during the festive season. During festival seasons and long weekends, bus fares between the two cities were jacked up to a staggering Rs 4,000 per head. The bus lobby is trying hard to get control over the Kerala-Bengaluru route, as it is one of the most profitable travel routes, and as a result people are forced to pay through their noses to buy a bus ticket in the absence of enough trains.”

However, the Indian Railways seems unsure about whose initiative it is to start the trains with two divisions involved having two different opinions.

Vijaya, the Public Relation Officer of South Western Railways, told TNM, “The train is between the Southern and South Western Railways. But the primary maintenance and arrangement of rakes and crew should be done by the Southern Railways. We have communicated our willingness to them many times in writing. Whatever timings they have proposed, we have always given our consensus. The moment Southern Railways agrees, we are ready to run it.”

However, the Southern Railways refuted Vijaya’s version.

Senior PRO of Southern Railways, Om Prakash, told TNM, “Since this involves two zones, neither of us can decide on the matter alone. It can be only announced by the Railway Board. If there is any train within our zone, then we can run it.”

He added that there has been no such talks from the Railway Board yet.

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