Passengers are a harried lot in the wake of lack of basic facilities at the railway station here, which is being upgraded as an 'adarsh' (model) station. The biggest problem is that of lack of toilets. It was five months ago that the waiting hall and toilet block were demolished for renovation, but no alternate arrangement was made for the passengers where they could ease themselves.
In desperation, some of the passengers use lavatories inside the waiting room meant for reserved ticket holders, while some literally beg before the residents of nearby railways quarters for letting them use toilet. Not even the railway officials have an idea when the toilets would be ready.
In absence of a waiting hall, senior citizens and physically challenged are at the receiving end. There is no provision of ramp from where elderly and physically challenged can be wheeled on to the station. The train arrival-departure display board has also been dismantled.
Comparatively, the station is a busy one as in September, a total of 75,423 passengers boarded different trains from here.
Barnala was one of the 976 stations chosen in 2012 for upgradation as 'adarsh station'. Once the work is complete, the station will have safe drinking water, pay-and-use toilets, high-level platforms, earmarked parking lots and disabled-friendly ramps.
The renovation work is being carried out by Verma Builders, Bathinda. The work will take 8 months to complete.
Hira Lal, the caretaker at the construction site, refused to disclose any details of the project. He even did not tell the name and contact details of the owner of the contractor firm. “The tender document has no clause of providing alternate toilet facilities,” he said.
Divisional railways manager, Anil Kumar Kathpal, said, “Since the toilet block is to be constructed at the same place, so it will take some time.”
Junior engineer (works) of railways, Vijay Shanker Kataria, who is overseeing the work, was also out of town. He said an alternate toilet bock was being constructed near chowki of Govt Railway Police and it would be made functional soon. “The entire work will be complete by January 2014 if everything goes as per the plan,” he added.
Railways needed to provide alternate toilet facilities even before demolishing the toilet block. Renovation doesn't mean you deprive passengers of basic facilities.
Anil Bansal Naana, social activist
Women and elderly suffer the most due to lack of public conveniences. Suitable arrangements should be made as soon as possible.
Sunil Jindal, social activist
A ramp should be constructed immediately to facilitate physically challenged and elderly. It will provide a big relief to them.
- Kulwinder Singh, commuter
Barnala railway station is one of the best revenue generating stations of the region. More than 2,500 passengers come to station everyday. Facilities should be restored at the earliest.
Raj Panesar, resident
An alternate toilet bock is being constructed near chowki of Govt Railway Police and it will be made functional soon.
Vijay Shankar Kataria, junior engineer (works), railways