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Ranchi station on a weak platform

The inordinate delay in setting up a proposed escalator and opening two additional platforms at Ranchi railway station has left regular passengers and citizens’ organisations in the state capital fuming.

“I request the authorities to inaugurate the two new platforms at Ranchi railway station at the earliest. This will ease the load on the existing three platforms,” Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Sajjan Saraf said.

The two new platforms (Nos. 4 and 5) were set up more than a year ago, but are yet to be open for public use.

Nearly 50 passenger trains and dozens of goods trains, which ply on the Ranchi-Dhanbad route daily, pass through the existing platforms. Till 2003, when the Ranchi division was carved out of Adra railway division, around 20 passenger trains travelled through the route everyday.

Due to the increasing rush, approaching trains often get stranded outside the city.

Manoj Kumar, a resident of Ratu Road who travels on the route frequently, said, “Sometimes trains between Ranchi and places like Delhi such as the Sampark Kranti Express are stranded for half an hour while waiting for clearance. This won’t happen if the new platforms become functional.”

Sources, however, said the railway authorities wanted to first modernise the route selection system at the junction this fiscal before launching the platforms.

The track-locking and route selection system at the station is on manual mode. It was proposed to be converted into Solid State Interlocking system — a centralised track selection mode that puts human error out of the equation.

“We have asked the railway board for dates to commission the new platforms, but we are yet to get any reply,” said K.S. Mukherjee, senior divisional commercial manager, Ranchi railway division.

The Ranchi division had also planned to install an escalator at the station by June-July. The railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 35 lakh for the project.

The authorities had even invited suppliers to place their bids to provide the escalator. The bid was due to open on October 21, but the date was cancelled.

Mukherjee said the escalator would be in place soon.

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