KOCHI: Rail passengers are on a warpath demanding the immediate withdrawal of the decision of Indian Railways to stop the services of three special trains running in Kerala. On Friday, the members of Friends of Rails -- a voluntary non-profit organisation which represents more than 7,000 daily train commuters between Parassala and Thrissur -- staged a protest in front of the Divisional Railway Manager’s office in Thiruvananthapuram asking to revoke the decision to cancel the trains. The organisation has also launched ‘Bring back the special trains’ campaign as part of their protest.
Furthermore, the group has penned a letter to the union Minister of Railways Piyush Ghoyal demanding necessary action. The decision to stop the services of three special trains, two Janasatabdi Express trains and Venad Express by the Southern Railways has come as a huge blow to rail passengers.
Secretary of Friends on Rails Liyons J said that thousands of commuters depend on these services for inter-district travel. “It is completely unfair on part of the authorities to cancel them now. The government is relaxing restrictions but the railway authorities are denying transportation to the people,” said Liyons. He added that even after Unlock 4, Southern Railway was offering poor service in Kerala by operating only a few trains. The group claims a large section of people depend on inter-district services to commute for work and other reasons everyday.
However, Nithin Norbet, Ernakulam area manager of Southern Railway, said that the decision to withdraw the services of the special trains had arrived from the Railway Board and wouldn’t be implemented unless a corresponding order was issued from the Southern Railway.Meanwhile, the organisation is planning to intensify the protest if the decision is not withdrawn. “We are planning to stage protests at all major stations.”