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Poor cousins run on the slow track

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2012 02:02 IST
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Apart from New Delhi, the national Capital has four other stations are not comparable to the showpiece one in terms of size. But together they cater to a staggering 10 lakh passengers daily. Yet, they are also grappling with several problems because they are low on the railways' priority list.

Their tale of woes include issues such as congested entries, poor security and sanitation, and even monkeys.

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Inaugurated in 2009, to cater to east-bound trains from Delhi, Anand Vihar is still in relatively good shape. But the railways needs to immediately improve the condition of the other three - Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Sarai Rohilla.

At the Old Delhi station - which preceded the New Delhi railway station by 60 years - the lounge and some platforms have been improved but only to an extent. The entry is a nightmare. Worse is in store once you are on the premises. Open urinals and stray dogs are a big put off. The tracks are extremely dirty. "The railways must build a facility to wash the tracks. You cannot stand here because of the stench," said Sumit Kumar Singh, a passenger.

The real danger lurks at the platforms. Groups of monkeys harass passengers all the time.

At the Hazrat Nizamuddin station, congestion has been eased after a pre-paid taxi service was started, waiting rooms opened and a second foot-over bridge put in place but poor security is what strikes you first. A walk up to the overbridge towards the platforms reveals a non-functional baggage scanner with a signboard saying "Machine Kharab Hai" (The machine is out of order). There are no security personnel anywhere in sight at the door frame metal detectors. "So many bomb blasts have happened in Delhi yet these people are not alert," said Rajesh Tyagi, a passenger. Many of the drinking water taps on the platform lie defunct amid filth.

The approach to the Sarai Rohilla station is a real nightmare for passengers. They have to manoeuvre through narrow lanes in gated colonies off the New Rohtak Road. "Officials have been promising for years that they would ensure a wide entry to the station, but nothing has happened," said a passenger.

"The old and dilapidated station building has been renovated. But there's shortage of drinking water," admitted a railway employee at the station. There is hardly any security and garbage can be seen strewn all over the premises. Waiting rooms are dirty and passengers prefer to sit and wait at the platforms.

At Anand Vihar station, passengers don't seem to have many complaints. "But a new, well-maintained station should not make officials complacent," cautioned Rita Sulekha, a passenger.

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Traveller's account

Hazrat Nizamuddin: No cop to help hapless passengers
Nirakar Sidar (20)
Raigarh, Chhattisgarh

As he looked frantically for a policeman at the Nizamuddin railway station on December 1 to report his stolen bag in which he had his clothes and cash, the 20-year-old was in tears.

"I'm feeling very helpless. All my belongings were in the bag and someone stole it. I tried to find a policeman to report the theft but there is no one around," said Sidar, who was in Delhi for a job interview.,

"One cop who was standing at the end of the overbridge asked me to take a look inside the urinal instead of helping me," he said.

He had come to the station in the morning from Chirag Delhi, where his relatives stay, to catch the Kalinga Utkal Express when the incident took place, leaving him helpless.

"A railway station in the Capital city doesn't have any form of security for regular passengers like me. Even if a major crime is committed there is no police officer. The train will leave any minute. What more can I do? I'll go back home and will tell everyone about the nightmare I faced in Nizamuddin," Sidar said.

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Sarai Rohilla: Here you've to stand till train comes
RS Thakur (50)
Defence service, a resident of Mangolpuri in northwest Delhi

"Four full, two half and one kid," thus explained Thakur about his family while waiting for a train to Rewari at the Sarai Rohilla station on December 1.

This 50-year-old was having a hard time locating a place for his family members to sit on a station where infrastructure is not quite visible.

"Every time we travel by train through Sarai Rohilla, there are certain problems we take for granted. There are not many benches to sit here. You take a look at the waiting room and you will know why all passengers are sitting outside. The platform area, too, is very dirty most of the time," Thakur, a defence serviceman said.

As the train going to Rewari chugged in slowly, the Thakur entourage got up, collected themselves and geared up to get on board.

"I hope that when we come back, at least then we won't have to sit on this station again. We won't have to hurry to avoid missing the train because of the unplanned entry road leading to the station from New Rohtak Road. Our country is progressing so fast, only the railways is somehow running very slow," Thakur said.

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