Travellers? travails on wheels
IT WAS 7 PM. Sneha, 22, was waiting at the railway station for her train to Patna. She was worried whether her 2 AC ticket would be confirmed. But even after her ticket was confirmed, she had other things to worry about in the ?haunted coach?.india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 01:22 IST
IT WAS 7 PM. Sneha, 22, was waiting at the railway station for her train to Patna. She was worried whether her 2 AC ticket would be confirmed. But even after her ticket was confirmed, she had other things to worry about in the ‘haunted coach’.
“Am I alone in the coach? What kind of people will be my co-passengers? Will it be safe for me to travel alone?” These and many more such thoughts concerning a safe journey crossed her mind. Somehow she calmed herself and tried to sleep. But sleep just would’nt come.
She asked the attendant if there were other passengers on the coach and he replied in the affirmative, saying a couple were sitting on the other side. Sneha could not sleep and stayed awake for the TTE. As he entered the coach, the worried Sneha asked him to change her berth so that she could sit with the couple. Fortunately, the TTE obliged.
The problem of ‘haunted coaches,’ specially during off season, has become a major cause of concern as the number of travellers has become less and instances of loot, rape and hooliganism in deserted coaches have often been reported in the past.
“How can one travel alone in a coach, when a journey even in general coaches is not safe these days,” said Mahesh Deb. He too underwent a horrible experience while returning from Nagpur to Lucknow by Rapti Sagar.
“I can’t understand why we are placed in the waiting list, when the entire coach is vacant,” asked Sanjay, another passenger. He recalled one of his recent journeys with his father to Dehra Dun. “Me and My father were travelling in 2 AC coach,” he recounted. “Since there was no pantry car in the Doon Express, we had to order dinner to one of the contractors, who was expected to provide it at the next station. As we were the only two passengers in the coach, he might not have bothered to serve us,” said Sanjay.
But the railway authorities have a different story about the haunted coaches. “Reservation is allotted on the basis of availability of quota, which varies from station to station,” said DCM (NR) Amit Kumar Jain, adding that tickets were issued depending upon the quota.
He said that even if the seats were to be allotted to the waiting passengers, this had to be done from the previous station’s quota which remained vacant.
So, said the DCM, if the quota was not filled, then there were chances that berths would be vacant.