A to-and-fro local train between R-Block and Digha leaves commuters stranded at Hartali Mor four times daily at peak hours.
The economically nonviable train leaves R-Block at 9.15am and goes to Digha. Its return journey is scheduled an hour later. The train again goes from R-Block to Digha at 5pm and starts for R-Block at 5.45pm. Each time the train plies between R-Block and Digha, hundreds of motorists remain stranded helplessly in front of ropes, the makeshift level crossings, at Hartali Mor.
The train’s last trip is from R-Block to Patna City. But that does not go via Hartali Mor.
The train hardly generates any revenue because few passengers travel by it. On an average, 50 people take the train in each trip.
Each time the train passes through Hartali Mor, it brings traffic on Bailey Road — the lifeline of the city — to a standstill for more than 10 minutes. The nine-coach train runs at a speed of 20kmph and passes through Hartali Mor at 9.30am, 10.30am, 5.15pm and 6pm.
“The movement of the train has made the life of motorists miserable. Every morning I get stuck on my way to office. I fail to understand why the railway is running this train on this route. I don’t know how much revenue rail earns from this train. But I see few passengers taking the train,” said Viadnath Singh, a resident of Punaichak.
Admitting that the rail route between Digha and R-Block causes traffic problems, East Central Railway chief public relations officer (CPRO) Amitabh Prabhakr told The Telegraph: “We do not have the figure of any particular train as far as revenue generation is concerned. The railway does not function eyeing profit. The local train makes profit or not is not our concern. We run it for the benefit of the passengers who travel on this train.”
Shakuntala Devi, a resident of Digha, said she takes the train to save money. But she is not satisfied with its service. She claimed that the train often ran late.
Unlike a few like Shakuntala, majority of the Patnaites feel the train is a glaring example of wastage of the government resources. If at all the train has to stay, they said, it should not cause convenience to others.
Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Boring Road, said: “Why the railway is not constructing a rail over bridge (ROB) if this train is so important? The state government and the railway should come up with a solution.”
The CPRO said: “I cannot take a call on the construction of an ROB.”
Not just the officer-goers, students also go though the same agony because their buses often get stuck on Bailey Road because of the train’s movement.
Earlier, chief minister Nitish Kumar had personally requested then railway minister Mamata Banerjee to hand over that stretch of land to the state government so that it could be converted into a four-lane road. Nitish had said the train served no purpose and caused huge traffic jams in Patna and places adjoining to the city. But the railway has not taken any decision on the issue yet.