Nankau railway junction

A paan shop doubles up as a rail enquiry counter

From a distance it appears just like any other ordinary paan (betel) shop but as one moves a little closer, one is surprised to find several hand written A-4 size sheets containing information about train timings.  Situated near the busy Daliganj railway station in the city, this unique paan shop also functions as a railway enquiry counter for the past 12 years and serves the needs of hundreds of commuters.

Nankau who owns the paan shop told Deccan Herald, “Hundreds of long distance and daily passengers throng the shop daily to enquire about   arrival and departure schedules”. He diligently updates in train schedules whenever required to facilitate the smooth travel of passengers who depend on his railway information. For commuters the ‘Nankau Enquiry Service’  is an important point to visit before they proceed towards the station to board their trains.

He says, “It is my passion and I do it without charging any thing from people though I have to spend some money on telephone bills to collect information from the Railways’’ .

Nankau said that he launched this service in 1998 after he found that there was no enquiry counter at the Daliganj railway station from where thousands of passengers board trains every day.  Nankau himself prepared the time table of 22 meter gauge, four passengers trains and five MEMU trains that pass through Daliganj station daily.  He said, “My enquiry counter remains open from 8 am to 10 pm and is continuously updated”.

Recalling the days when he had launched the service, Nankau said that way back in 1998, he did not have a telephone and so had to cycle all the way to the nearest Aishbagh railway station to collect train schedules and paste it on his shop.

Although Nankau is not even a matriculate, he has memorised the train numbers of that transit through Daliganj. For the daily passengers, Nankau’ s enquiry counter is a blessing.

Kamla Prasad Chaurasia, a daily commuter says “It saves us a lot of time’’.  However Nankau’ s wife and four children are not happy with his ‘social service’ . ‘It entails a daily expenditure of Rs 70-80, which is a burden considering our meager income’ , said his wife. Despite the family’s opposition, Nankau says, “ I will continue with the service as long as I live’’ .  

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