Dharna for Bihar train

Mithilanchal link snapped, poor bus service adds to commuter woes

By Our Special Correspondent in Ranchi
  • Published 25.06.17
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Protestors demand the reinstatement of Ranchi-Jaynagar Express outside Ranchi railway station on Saturday. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Ranchi, June 24: Over 100 men and women sat on a dharna with placards outside Ranchi railway station today, demanding reinstatement of the Ranchi-Jaynagar Express, the only train which connects the state capital with various towns of Mithilanchal region if neighbouring Bihar.

Ranchi-Jaynagar Express is one of 19 trains that have been suspended after the June 15 closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura rail line due to its vulnerability to cave-ins because of the underground fire in Jharia. But, the protestors argued that a knee-jerk reaction of shutting the 34km rail line, without prior planning had left them without convenient options of travelling to their hometowns in Bihar.

Lack of enough buses on the route was another major concern aired by them.

The protestors gathered at 8am, sitting in two groups near the entrance of the station with placards that read, "Start Ranchi-Jaynagar Express".

"We don't mind paying extra, but the railways should take a decision to start the train without further delay. We don't mind if the train has to be diverted via Asansol or Gomoh, but the train should start from Ranchi. This is our one and only demand," said Sunil Jha, one of the protestors.

Saket Jha, another protestor, added that over one lakh people living in Ranchi were affected because of the cancellation of the train. "From Ranchi, the train connects those who are residents of Simaria, Barauni, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Madhubani and Jaynagar, all in Mithilanchal. This was the most popular train," he rued, adding they had submitted several memorandums to Ranchi rail division and that today's protest is in continuation of their campaign.

Santosh Jha said poor bus services had aggravated their problems. "Only three buses are available. How will one travel?" he opined.

Abha Jha recalled how they had to suffer while returning to Ranchi from Darbhanga recently. "We had booked our return tickets to Ranchi in advance. But, those were cancelled due to the sudden termination of the train. Left with no other alternative, we had to first travel to Patna overnight, then look for options to come to Ranchi. With were compelled to take a rickety bus," said, the resident of Kanke, who was travelling with a husband and a toddler.

Officials in Ranchi rail division admitted people were being inconvenienced. "Their demands are justified but at the moment, we can't do anything at our end unless any concrete decision is taken at the level of the rail ministry," said a senior official.