Jorhat, Feb. 21: The booking of emergency quota tickets on the 6505 Inter-city Express, which runs between Jorhat and Guwahati, has been withdrawn recently from Jorhat railway station and can be booked only from Mariani in what is perceived as another instance of neglect by the railways.
Jorhat Bikash Committee and other organisations have demanded that this facility be restored as this is the only night train connecting Jorhat to Guwahati. Last-minute booking of tickets in the quota from Mariani is also a difficult proposition as it is 18km away from the town with poor transport connectivity.
Niranjan Jain, president of the committee, said the move was arbitrary as all the long-distance trains from Tinsukia or Dibrugarh passed through Mariani junction and there was availability of seats to Guwahati on all these trains. However, the Inter-city Express was the only night train to Guwahati from Jorhat and emergency situations were likely to arise, especially for those in need of medical treatment.
He said the Jorhat railway station is the highest revenue earner in Tinsukia railway division — the collections totalling more than Rs 1 crore per month — but the railways has always neglected it.
J.K. Agarwalla, president of Jorhat Rail Seva Suraksha Samiti, said they would demand extra bogies because of the heavy rush for tickets on the train, which leaves Jorhat station at 7.15pm, so that there would be more availability of seats and dependence on the quota tickets would be reduced.
Tinsukia divisional railway commercial manager P. Madhu Kar said the decision had been taken at the NF Railway headquarters at Maligaon in Guwahati and the emergency quota was now linked to the station of origin — which is Mariani, in the case of the Inter-city Express.
“For trains originating from Dibrugarh, the emergency quota tickets can now be booked only from Dibrugarh and not from Tinsukia, although this is a divisional headquarters, as was done previously,” Kar said.
The commercial manager, however, said the emergency tickets could be booked easily from Jorhat over the phone with the help of the chief ticket inspector here, if required.
There have been demands for quite some time now that long-distance trains, including the Rajdhani Express, pass through Jorhat.
While a number of meetings in this regard have been held with senior railway officials and a few months ago with Keshab Chandra, general manager, NF Railway, as well as Jorhat MP B.K. Handique, nothing has been done till date.
“A short bypass track from Mariani will enable the big engines to make the turning onto the track to Jorhat without any need to change over to smaller engines and thus will not affect the speed of the train. Till date, no big long-distance trains have been able to touch Jorhat station because of this,” Jain said.
The organisations have also demanded that a new building with all amenities should be constructed on the north side of the town as the present station is more than 100 years old.
The demands also include speeding up of extension work on platform number one and construction of platform number two and construction of a flyover on the Na-ali to reduce heavy traffic jams on the road.