KOCHI: The work on the dormitory-cum-retiring room facility at Ernakulam Town Railway Station, started in 2010, has reached a dead end owing to the failure on the part of Railway authorities in paying the contractor. The facility was planned at the top floor of the station.
Though several passenger associations and unions have taken up the issue, the Railway authorities are yet to take any positive action.
Though the Railways hase allotted lakhs for the work, nothing has happened except a staircase that has been constructed midway and the flooring works.
“The contractor dropped the work midway owing to the fund issues. The Railways did not find any replacement and hence the work lags,” the union members said.
According to Ernakulam North Railway Station Master, many long-distance passengers approach him seeking lodging facilities at the station. “Since the project hasn’t realised, we ask them to go elsewhere,” he said.
Though it has been stipulated that the prime railway stations should have a retiring room facility, the Town station here is one among the few ones in the country which lacks it.
Though the Ernakulam Junction Station boasts of a retiring room, the facilities are insufficient, the passengers said.
Plan to develop Town station
Taking into consideration the issues plaguing North Railway Station, Ernakulam area manager Rajesh Chandran said the Railways has plans to repair the station and make it into better standards.
“Based on directive from top officials, I visited the station. It is in a pathetic state. Just like the Ernakulam Junction Station, the Town Railway Station is also a prime station. Efforts will be taken to allocate more funds for the development of North Railway Station,” he said.
Improper roofing facility, insufficient length of platforms, lack of AC waiting rooms and a VIP lounge are some of the issues plaguing the station.
Owing to lack of facilities, passengers are forced to depend on the station masters room as a waiting lounge.
Meanwhile, there are complaints that the contractors were charging a hefty fee for urinals at the station. Though the Railway Board policy states that urinals are free for passengers, most of them are forced to pay at least Rs 2 for the facility. “Recently, we had fined the workers with Rs 600 for seeking payment,” officials said.
There are also demands to set up a signage at the station at the new building complex. Complaints of septic waste flowing into the water provided by the Kerala Water Authority is also becoming a constant issue.