Railways: Post centenary blues

The plaque to mark the inauguration of rail bridge on November 4, 1907.

The second rail bridge needs support for the rail services in the days to come. Alongside to the East is an amazing sight, the second Nethravathi Road Bridge which has come up in merely a matter of months!   Not too long ago ‘Mangalore Central Railway Station’ was just a sleepy station with just a few trains arriving and departing. Today, it is a busy rail-head sharing its activity with ‘Mangalore Junction’ (Kankanady). With a huge population travelling in train from Mangalore, the rapid doubling of the Konkan track connecting Mumbai should be a priority along with better traffic provisions to Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai.

Basic amenities

Mangalore Railway Station still lags behind in meeting the passengers’ needs. The surroundings of both the stations and approach roads are very poor. At the Mangalore Central station, the East side entrance which is the entry and exit of platforms 2 and 3 is simply terrible. The bushes and weeds have swallowed the beauty of the Station. The problem will be solved if a goods booking and storage office complex is provided at the South end of the railway station on the East side with a proper approach.

There is no gateway or safe path for the passengers to freely cross the rail tracks to gain entry and exit from all sides. On the East face, there is neither ticket counter nor checking staff.  The entire area is filthy and smelling foul. On the west side, the prestigious platform 1 is only a pretension. The lined up food courts and snack stalls make the Station uncomfortable for the common passenger. The foot over bridge is unfit for the aged and sick; the only way is across the tracks and is not meant for wheel chairs or the aged, sick and physically challenged - it also breaks the law which prohibits of crossing the rail tracks. It is a nightmare for those with heavy baggage and children. The much hyped self service trolleys are still a myth. Passengers are a harassed lot in the absence of the promised ‘pre paid auto’ facility.  The plea that these rail stations should be handed over to other divisions or an independent division has got negative response.
Certainly, it is not at all acceptable that the Station should be under the Palaghat Division (Kerala).

Bangalore, Mysore trains

It is crystal clear that both the day and night trains to and from Bangalore and Mysore are not meant for Mangaloreans. The day train soon to be rescheduled will become a useless train for the people of this area. With its extension to Karwar, the train will not arrive at Mangalore Central at all - thus forcing the passengers to travel from the Junction to the city. With the trains destined to Kannur and Karwar, it is impossible for Mangalore passengers to secure reservations. Imagine boarding the day train at Mangalore Junction at 10.30 am and reaching Yashwantpur at 10.30 pm - it is most inconvenient option.
   
Citizens’ gripe

The Indian Railways seems to be giving step-mother treatment to Mangalore. Apart from the railway stations, there is no progress on the much hyped underpasses near the Junction RS (Bajal) and Mahakalipadappu, due to which the people are facing severe inconvenience. Also, the line from Mangalore central to old Bundar is a great hurdle for the fast growing city. This line is obsolete with new developments at Baikampady and Panambur in place now.

The railways should provide permission and co-operation to repair/improve the roads that are within their land area and must not act like colonial rulers.

The current scenario is not at all in the interest of the local public and purely the roost is ruled by outside elements who are commanding the railways in this area. The elected representatives and authorities need to be better active to iron out the rail matters. Post centenary expectations of Mangaloreans have not been realised in matters concerning the Railway and they are a disappointed lot.

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