| Passengers jostle to get into a crowded train at Patna Junction on Friday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Professionals and students who had come home for Holi are having a tough time going back to cities where they work or study with “no room” in most trains and soaring airfares.
East Central Railway (ECR) is operating more than a dozen special trains to clear the post-Holi rush. But tickets on trains to New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Howrah are unavailable till next week.
Those planning to take the aerial route do not have too many options either. Flight seats are expensive.
“The usual fare on the Patna-Delhi route is Rs 6,000. It has gone up to Rs 10,000-13,000. On the Patna-Mumbai route, the fare is usually around Rs 9,000. It has doubled,” said Raman Jha, the manager of Super Travels. He added that the fares would continue to be high till April 2.
Those who cannot afford plane are in for trouble. Danapur resident Arvind Thakur, who works in Calcutta, needs to join work on Monday. “But tickets are not available on any of the Howrah-bound trains,” he said.
Delhi University student Mukesh Kumar who came to Patna for Holi is facing a similar problem. “I have tried all the trains but no ticket is available,” he said.
Railway officials claimed that they were doing everything to address the problems.
ECR chief public relations officer Amitabh Prabhakar said: “We are doing our best to help people. But trying to get confirmed tickets at the last minute is not possible.”