Passengers boarding trains from Howrah station might face a harrowing time from early on Tuesday, as railways have not renewed contract with service providers of luggage trolleys.
Mamata Banerjee had inaugurated modern luggage trolley service on January 12, 2011. The trolleys were meant to assist passengers, especially senior citizens and women in boarding and alighting from coaches along with their luggage. With the absence of trolleys, passengers now will have to rely once again on porters and wheelchairs.
“In 2011, the railways made an agreement with State Bank of India to run the service for one year. SBI appointed our agency.
The contract was renewed in 2012. It is scheduled to expire on Friday and we will remove our trolleys from the station late tonight,” said Kausar Raja the director of the agency that runs the service.
Presently, there are 175 Rail Yatri Sevaks at the two complexes of the Howrah station to run the service that has a fleet of 70 trolleys.
“The service was initiated when Mamata Banerjee was the railway minister. The contract was renewed when Dinesh Trivedi was the minister. There has been a change of guard in the railway ministry and may be this is why the contract has not been renewed,” said Raja.
Railway officials said they have already sent necessary papers for the renewal of contract. The decision of the Railway Board is still pending.
“We are expecting the final decision by Saturday. Accordingly we are going to take steps,” said KK Patra, ADRM Howrah.