HUBBALLI: A failed engine of a goods train dashed the dream of hundreds of youths from Belagavi and Dharwad districts as they were unable to write their examination for the post of armed constable at the District Armed Reserve (DAR) police force, in Bengaluru on Sunday morning.Reason: The Rani Chennamma Express they were travelling in could not reach Bengaluru in time. Instead of reaching the station at 6.25 am, it reached the city at 3 pm. The exam was held at 10.30 am.
Hubballi-Dharwad Police Commissioner M N Nagaraj, in a press release, said ADGP Raghvendra Auradkar has asked the candidates who missed the exam because of the train delay to submit a copy of their train ticket and details of their hall ticket, so that they can arrange for the reexamination.
According to sources, one of the two engines of a goods train carrying coal from Goa to Jindal South West broke down near Mugad, on the outskirts of Dharwad around 10 pm on Saturday. Since it is a single line, the Rani Chennamma Express was forced to halt at Kambarganvi station, about 26 km from Dharwad, at 10.48 pm. The Railway staff tried to clear the track by moving the coal train using the engine of Rani Chennamma Express. But the passenger locomotive could not push the goods train from behind for more than 2 km. Meanwhile, another loco was dispatched from Mugad and it cleared the track.
Furious passengers protested at Kambarganvi station. The passenger train’s engine returned to Kambarganvi at 1.10 am and was attached back to the TNIE at around 3 am. The train, which was supposed to reach Dharwad at 10 pm on Saturday, reached at 5.30 am on Sunday, and reached Hubballi at 6 am on Sunday instead of 10.30 pm on Saturday.
The aspirants alighted at Hubballi station and protested here too. They demanded that the Railways hold talks with the state government and allow them appear for the exam at another date.
DCP Renuka Sukumar tried to convince the agitators to withdraw the protest. Hubballi-Dharwad East MLA Prasad Abbayya reached the station and spoke to Chief Minister H D Kumarswamy and DyCM G Parameshwara over phone. He told the protesters the government was sympathetic towards them. Following this, aspirants dispersed. “At 1.10am, the engine returned to the train at Kambarganvi station. The passengers did not allow the railway officials to re-attach the engine,” said SWR Central Public Relations Officer E Vijaya. “We could have made up if the protesters had allowed us. The train could have reached Bengaluru by 8am on Sunday,” she added. SWR has constituted a committee to look into the issue.
Deepak Kasture, one of the candidate told TNIE that the train was already running late and reached Raibagh an hour late and stopped at Kambarganvi station at around midnight. “Initially, what we thought the train stopped for crossing of another train... but later we found that the locomotive itself was detached from the coaches. We tried to contact the railway officials... some officers came to the spot and behaved arrogantly with passengers,” he said.
H D Kumaraswamy instructed officials to give aspirants who missed the exam another opportunity. Dates for fresh sitting will be announced shortly. Officials have been asked to set up an exam centre in Hubballi.