The East Central Railway (ECR) has booked good business, thanks to the JD-U’s Adhikar Rally on November 4.
As of now, two MPs, an MLA and other party leaders have booked four special trains to transport people for the rally from different corners of the state.
ECR sources said, the charges, as per rules, had netted Rs. 36 lakh by way of booking the trains, till Wednesday. The rally specials would originate from Raxaul, Saharsa, Bagaha and Kashichak (Shiekhpura) for Patna and carry the workers back the same evening.
Chief spokesperson of ECR HQ, Hajipur, said that the trains had been booked for Rs. 9 lakh each. The first of this special trains would leave early morning from Raxaul and reach Patna via Barauni.
Sources said, the train from Raxaul has been booked in the name of MP Sabir Ali while the second rally special train of 19 coaches, had been booked by Bagaha MP, Baidyanath Mahto.
Pradip Kumar, legislator of Warsaliganj, has booked the third train for the rally from Kashichak in Sheikhpura while the fourth train has been booked in the name of a JD (U) leader, Raghvendra Prasad Singh, from Saharsa to Patna.
Meanwhile, ECR sources added that the party had booked special trains from other zones also, including that of North Frontier Railway and the Eastern Railway points of Banka, Kishanganj and Bhagalpur.
The ECR official claimed that no passenger train or regular train would be cancelled or disrupted next Sunday - rally day - due to the running of rally specials.
The Danapur division of ECR has been instructed to make all arrangements for safety and yarding of special trains till the time the rally ends. A senior ECR source said, “Since over 5 lakh rallyists have been estimated to attend the rally, the railway is considering additional arrangement to provide train related information to passengers at Patna and Rajendra Nagar stations.”
It will also deploy additional police forces to prevent disruption of services and damage to railway property by bad elements masquerading as rallyists.
Meanwhile, chief secretary of Bihar, AK Sinha, has called a meeting with railway GM and other officials to review the law and order requirements.
8,000 buses too hired
Political rallies in the past have always remain etched in the memory of transporters as a bad dream, what with forcible seizure of buses and non-payment of fuel bills by the organisers to ferry rallyists.
But this time around, bus owners across the state do not seem to be sulking at all, ahead of the JD(U)’s Adhikar Rally on Sunday, claiming that party MLAs and senior leaders were making requisite payment against hiring passenger vehicles. “ This time , there is no forcible seizure of buses and JD(U) leaders have approached the owners to hire the buses by making advance payments for fuel cost and other charges,” said Uday Shankar Singh, president of the Bihar Motor Transport Federation (BMTF).
Going by a rough estimate, 8,000 buses of different sizes like those with 52 seat, 44 seat and 36 seat capacity have been hired to ferry the rallyists coming from all four corners of the state. From Gaya alone, 580 buses have been hired while in Nalanda, the home district of chief minister Nitish Kumar - some 300 buses have been hired by the JD(U).
As for payment, many bus owners said they have charged for the fuel cost based on the distance travelled by discounting other miscellaneous charges as the rally was being held for the good of the state.
“Bus owners have not incurred any losses this time, unlike previous times, when vehicles used to be seized forcibly and parked at party offices or other places eight to ten days before the rally,” said Munnaji, a leading transporter of Gaya. Another bus owner of Nalanda district, Ajit Kumar said, most of the buses had been paid around Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 6,000 for carrying the rallyists from different places like Asthawan, Atri, etc.
However, one big cause for concern to bus owners is the question over parking in the state capital on the day of the rally.
“We still do not know where the hired vehicles will be parked in Patna on the day of rally as thousands of buses would be entering the city from all corners,” said another transporter.
The traffic system in the state capital city could well take a beating on Sunday, unless the traffic authorities take adequate steps to ensure that vehicles are parked in a proper way and outside the city’s limits.
The city commuters would surely have a tough time with public transport likely to be off the roads.