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Ticket rush before colour fades

- Trains packed after festival, commuters find no room in trains

Patna, March 11: Riots of colour over, Holi revellers are finding it difficult to go back to their workplace. There is “no room” in any train.

The huge difference in ratio between trains and passengers soon after the festivity baffled Indian Railways officials. Passengers at Patna Junction were today seen queuing up in front of enquiry counters seeking a berth or even a small leg space. But non-availability of tickets forced most of them to settle for the platform.

Even the Holi special trains run by East Central Railway (ECR) were not sufficient to cope with the rush. Passengers to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Calcutta and Guwahati were the worst affected.

Waiting list has crossed the 100-mark for Rajdhani Express (12309). There is no room in Shramjeevi Express (12391/92), Sampoorna Kranti Express (12393/94), SanghMitra Express (12295/96), Patna-Pune Express (12150), Rajendra Nagar-Lokmanya Tilak Express (13201), Poorva Express (12303/04), Upasana Express (12327/28) and Vibhuti Express (12333/34).

“All trains to Delhi are packed and the waiting list has crossed 100. It seems there is no chance of me getting a confirmed ticket today. I might have to wait for a few more days. It is pathetic. Seats are not even available in the Holi special trains,” said Rajesh Kumar, a resident of the city.

He said in the middle of such a crisis, not all the ticket counters were open.

“After the Holi, it is the time when everyone wants to return to their workplace. The railway should open all the ticket counters to deal with the rush,” he added.

Amit Kumar, another commuter, said: “Tickets are not available till the first week of April. I had come to Patna to celebrate Holi with my family but I had no idea that I will not get confirmed ticket for my return trip. I would have otherwise booked in advance. The attendant at the ticket counter told me that no seats were available in any Delhi-bound trains till March 25. How will I attend office from Wednesday? I think I'll have to inform my boss only to hear some verbal lashing. Even prices of flight tickets have rocketed, leaving us with few options.”

ECR chief public relations officer Neeraj Ambastha told The Telegraph: “The railway has its own capacity and we are doing our best to provide all possible support to the passengers. We have decided to add an extra coach in all the long-distance and Holi special trains to cope with the rush. It is not the first time when tickets are not available after a festival. If the situation spirals out of control, some special trains will be put on track to clear the rush.”

Apart from long distance trains, the shorter ones too are packed. Trains like Patna-Gaya passenger (53645), Patna-Jhajha (63209), Patna-Buxar (153204), Patna-Dhanbad Intercity (13331), Patna-Sasaram (535659) and Patna-Ara passenger train (63223) were also choc-a-block.