KOCHI: The north railway station which is witness to one of Central Kerala’s largest passenger traffic continues to baffle commuters who arrive here. The station has more than six entries, which is illegal as the Indian Railway Act permits only main entrances at railway stations. According to sources, these illegal entries pose a security threat to the station. Four of these entrances are considered as main entries, while two are used for the RMS (Railway Mail Service). The backside of the station is considered as the seventh entrance. The first four entries include a parking entry, common exit, pre-paid auto entry, exit and common entry. The RMS service is also used by the public. Since unloading activities at the station is comparatively low, there is no requirement for two RMS services, sources added.
Reopened using political pressure
When Thiruvananthapuram railway officials were notified about the illegal entries at the station, they closed down the back entry. However, the entry was re-opened later after Ernakulam North Railway Station Samithi members protested against the move. They cited that though a similar measure was taken in 1999, they had moved the court, which ruled in their favour. Hibi Eden MLA and Corporation councillors had allegedly supported the move. According to them, the railways had guaranteed that they would not close down the back entry when land was acquired for the extension of the railway station. “ These entries should be closed since it will promote anti-social elements,” says Maya Joshy.
According to her, people even enter through entry-exits of parking lots. The ticket counter which has been set up at the RMP service area of the station are encouraging passengers to use this entry.
Station master speak
“Most of these illegal entries cropped up due to the low width of the platforms. Small areas were later opened up since people started opting for the short-cuts to catch the train” said station manager A Biju.
However, there are a number of frequent commuters who find these entries useful“ For those who arrive late, especially after being caught up in traffic, this is a boon. It helps to reduce rush at the platform’, said Akshara C, a traveller to Kozhikode.
Lax on safety
The North Railway station provides its passengers with up to date facilities like computerised reservation ticket counter, escalators touch screen enquiry etc, there are allegations that the authorities have been lax on the security