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Railway quick-fix to plug losses

Dhanbad: Indian Railways is planning to develop a short-term diversion on the 14km underground fire-hit part of the historical 34km Dhanbad-Chandrapura line, which had been deemed unsafe and closed in June 2017, throwing the commute of lakhs off-kilter and draining crores from railway division earnings.

So far, train traffic on 20km of the railway line has been restored in phases but the crucial 14km remains off-bounds.

Presenting his division's financial performance on Wednesday, Dhanbad divisional railway manager Manoj Krishna Akhauri revealed detailed discussions on laying tracks on two diversion options, Nichitpur-Tundu and Matari-Telo, were likely during the Railway Board meeting in New Delhi on January 9 to be chaired by board chairman Ashwani Lohani.

Akhauri said, "Dhanbad division has suffered losses of Rs 22.6 crore in passenger earnings already during the current financial year due to the closure of the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line since June 15. Passenger count fell by 37 lakh due to the closure or related diversions (on 26 pairs of trains, 20 express and six passenger)."

He said they wanted to create short-term diversion for the 14km underground fire-hit section to give relief to passengers after the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line closed. They also prepared a plan to upgrade facilities at Nichitpur railway halt, less than 2km from Katras, for the ease of Katras-Nichitpur passengers.

"For the ease of Dhanbad passengers, we proposed to Railway Board that Dhanbad-Ranchi Intercity be routed through Gomoh and not Asansol," he said. The Asansol diversion, introduced after the closure of the Chandrapura route, delayed the Dhanbad-Ranchi trip on Intercity by two hours, taking six hours now.

He added that in freight, his division performed better than last year, carrying 9.9 million tonnes more freight in the nine months of this fiscal compared to the corresponding period last year.

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