Just 63% trains through Patna punctual, hoodlums, chain pullers to blame
Around 97 bandhs till March 2017 and six blasts on railway tracks delayed 2,499 trains under the East Central Railway zone last year.india Updated: Apr 23, 2017 10:59 IST
Incidents of chain pulling, hooliganism, protests, calls for bandh and dharna (sit-in), blast on railway tracks, besides operational limitations, are delaying trains passing through Patna.
A study by the East Central Railway (ECR) zone, has revealed that only 63.29% trains passing through Patna could maintain punctuality in 2016-17.
The study attributed the delay to organised student groups, acting like hoodlums and pulling chains, holding up trains during bandhs, dharna and even triggering blasts on railway tracks, besides lack of a third line between Mughalsarai and Asansol.
A spate of bandhs - 97 till March 2017 - and six blasts on railway tracks delayed 2,499 trains last year.
“The alarming frequency of chain pulling, rampant on the Patna-Gaya, Patna-Kiul, Patna-Barh, Patna-Ara and Patna-Buxar sections, tend to delay trains on the main lines daily,” said ECR chief spokesperson Arvind Kumar Rajak.
He, however, said cases of chain pulling had come down from 1,944 in March to 1,475 in April after the ECR launched a spirited drive to check it. Railway security personnel had nabbed 221 passengers for chain pulling last month and realised Rs 1.57 lakh as penalty.
Operational limitations were also equally responsible for train delays.
“Insufficient number of railway lines have also contributed to delays. The railway lines have remained stagnant since 1980s, when just 82 pairs of trains used the main line corridor (between Mughalsarai and Kolkata via Patna). As a result, incoming trains are forced to halt at outer signals of stations for even up to an hour, leading to 30% punctuality loss each day,” said another official.
Defending this, Rajak said, “The survey work for the 335 km long third line will commence soon and Rs 1.67 crore has been earmarked for the first route survey this fiscal. The proposed third line, parallel to existing double track between Mughalsarai and Kiul under the Danapur railway division, will certainly help improve punctuality to 99%. ”
Over 250 mail, express and passenger trains, in addition to freight trains originate or pass through Patna daily, making it one of the busiest railway traffic section through the choked main line.
The Danapur division, with highest passenger footfall, is also the highest revenue earner for the ECR. Yet, the over three decade old proposal for a third line via Patna has been slow to get off the ground.