Though the Ernakulam South railway station has undergone an image makeover, the services are far from satisfactory. The sudden shortage of hands has crippled the services of the Information Centre.
The shortage arose when officials in Thiruvananthapuram transferred two employees of the Centre for train duty. According to sources, only one person is available on shift duty which is becoming a pain for the public, especially during the monsoon. “Many trains are delayed due to rain and passenger trains from Kottayam are late owing to the doubling work at Piravom and Mulanthuruthy. It is impossible to single-handedly offer information as there is a constant rush of passengers,” they said.
When City Express visited the station, only one staff was found manning the centre and the supervisor was not familiar with Malayalam. The duo who were transferred for train duty were working as TTEs earlier and were deputed at the Centre due to staff shortage.
“They were appointed at the Centre due to staff crunch but when the ticket squad faced shortage they were entrusted with their earlier responsibility,” sources said.
The employees stated that the Railways should ensure that people are appointed specifically for manning the Information Centre. They have also voiced their concern about the unnecessary cutting of posts and transfer of employees in Thiruvananthapuram division. There are allegations that the Divisional Railway Manager of Thiruvananthapuram Rajesh Agarwal was cutting short posts in each cadre as he considered them unnecessary. Official sources have alleged that the DRM was comparing Kerala with Delhi and Mumbai.
“In Delhi, trains don’t have as many stops as in Kerala. Keralites want the details of the journey, including the stops, the platform, arrival and departure. It is not practical to ask people to look at the display boards and reduce the number of hands at the information desk,” an official source said.
Meanwhile, Area Manager, Ernakulam, P L Ashok Kumar said sufficient number of hands were appointed at the information centre. “Two employees are on morning duty and one on night shift. Thirteen employees are undergoing training for the post of commercial clerks for the division. If there is a need, more staff will be appointed at the Information Centre,” he said.