Despite several inspections carried out by senior officials at Mansa railway station, one of the most important stations on the Ferozepur-New Delhi line, basic facilities are still lacking at the station that caters to passengers from the entire district.
There is only one counter for the computerised reservation centre which gets crowded during tatkal reservation hours. Routine passengers often complain that touts get the tatkal reservation without even arriving at the station.
The station, which has two platforms, has serious security concerns. It does not have a boundary wall which has led to many exit and entry points for the platform. It is surprising that the railway station is also an ideal spot for organising protests by different groups. One can also always find illegal shops on the railway land.
"All the shops which have sprung up in the railway station premises give security money to the Railway Protection Force (RPF)," alleged one of the locals. It was found that on either sides of the railway platform, vehicles were parked though they have no official permission to use the railway land.
Locals also complained that even in the presence of the RPF, goods were stolen from the goods train which makes a halt at the railway station for a few minutes. "The waiting room is always locked and no one is allowed to use it unless some senior government official is about to visit," said Harpreet Singh Sidhu, a passenger. There is no railway canteen within the railway station premises and the condition of the toilets is also deplorable.
The railway officials, however, refuted all the allegations made by the locals. A senior official, who did not wish to be named, said, "Earlier touts were active in booking tatkal tickets but now, everything is under check and we have become more vigilant and alert regarding the same."
The deputy commissioner who recently visited the railway station in the wake of the expected launch of the Bathinda Shatabdi express, assured that a proposal containing all the demands had been prepared and would be presented to the union railway minister on his visit.
"We have received a list of demands from the local bodies regarding the development of the railway station at Mansa. We will also demand that the Shatabdi express makes a halt at Mansa railway station."