ROURKELA: Launching of the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express via Rourkela has ended the long wait of the Steel City. But just a day after its introduction on Saturday, doubts are raised over the long-term commercial feasibility of the premium train and the Bhubaneswar-Anandbihar (Weekly) Super Fast (SF) Express with both the SF trains running on the same day (Saturday) and same route even as two other daily trains also run till Delhi.
The introduction of Rajdhani Express on Saturday is seen by many as a hidden move of the Indian Railways to withdraw either of the two SF trains after some time citing lack of commercial feasibility.
Social activist and general secretary of Udbhava, a forum for integrated development and mass awareness, Ved Prakash Tiwari said people of the region fail to understand why the Rajdhani Express has been scheduled for Saturday. Running once in a week, the Rajdhani Express would arrive at Rourkela at 2.55 pm on Saturday while the Bhubaneswar-Anandbihar Express also plying once in a week would arrive at 8.22 pm on Saturday. Similarly, the two daily trains Utkal Express and Sambalpur-Muri-Tata Jammu Tawi Express are available for Delhi on all days at 9.30 am and 11.30 am respectively, he informed.
He said the Rajdhani Express is most sought after as it has just eight stoppages between Rourkela and Delhi and takes 19.45 hours.
The Bhubaneswar-Anandbihar Express with nine stoppages between Rourkela and Delhi takes 24.28 hours, while the Utkal Express with 44 stations till Nizamuddin takes 29.10 hours and the Sambalpur-Muri Jammu Tawi is the worst train to Delhi from Rourkela with travel time of 34 hours and 50 stoppages, he added.
Tiwari said the attention of the Railway Ministry would be drawn to ensure that the two SF weekly trains run on separate days to benefit passengers.He also pointed out that passengers of Rajdhani Express going on official work to Delhi would land there on Sunday which would enhance their stay for a day as it is a holiday.
Chairman of Rourkela Development Steering Committee (RDSC) Subrata Patnaik said there is no justification with the two Super Fast weekly trains scheduled on the same day. It seems to be a deliberate move of the Indian Railways to withdraw either of the trains citing lack of commercial feasibility, he said and added that the RDSC would take up the issue at appropriate level.