Rail passengers stranded at major stations
Stopping the sale of platform tickets until November 23 at four stations faces criticism
While all major railway stations in the Capital are seeing a heavy rush with passengers leaving for home ahead of the festive season, a majority of attendants of passengers who came to see off their kith and kin on Sunday were left stranded outside the station.
The Northern Railway has temporarily stopped sale of platform tickets at four busy stations – New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar — between November 11 and 23 to control extra rush on the occasion of Diwali and Chhat puja.
The decision invited criticism from several passengers, especially the elderly and women. Confusion prevailed at the station. While some chose to enter the station without platform tickets, the law abiding ones were left stranded.
“I came here to drop my family. They have three bags to carry apart from my two kids. Since they don’t have a confirmed ticket, I have no idea how they will board the general compartment, which has the maximum rush,” said Sunil Prabhu, a resident of Buxar waiting to board Bihar-bound Shramjeevi Express.
However, railway officials said clerks manning the ticket counters at all stations have been advised to issue platform tickets.
“The decision has been taken to avoid overcrowding on the station premises, including the platform and foot overbridges. However, all the clerks have been asked to issue platform tickets to attendants of senior citizens and women,” said Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.
“All such passengers need to show up at ticket counters to ensure that only those who genuinely need assistance get the tickets,” said Sharma.
Platform tickets can also be bought from dedicated counters for senior citizens, he added. Officials said several other measures are being taken to ease the rush at the four major stations.
“Special trains have been distributed at the four major terminals. To avoid last-minute changes, platforms for all the trains including the specials ones, are fixed during the entire festival rush period. Change, if required, will be done only with approval of the divisional railway manager,” said a senior railway official.
Officials said most of the east-bound trains from New Delhi station are being sent from platform number 16 — the outermost platform on Ajmeri Gate side of the station.
“It helps in decongesting the foot overbridges as passengers moving to platform number 16 can directly get on to the platform through the main entrance as well as the VIP entrance,” an official said.
While the four major stations saw a footfall of over 12 lakh people, around five lakh people visit New Delhi station alone, officials said.
The rush is likely to increase with more people expected to leave for Chhat puja after Diwali.