MANGALURU: In a setback to the passengers of the Karnataka Coast, the railways have extended KSR Bengaluru-Kannur (Train No 16511/16512) to Kozhikode.
The extension will severely affect the berth availability in reserved classes and seat availability in general coaches for the coastal people of the state.
The order came as a shock to the train passengers of the state in the light of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reportedly promising Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel in September last that the train would not be extended to Kozhikode.
Initially, this train was operating overnight between Yeshwantpur-Mangaluru Central since its introduction in the year 2007.
Two year later in 2009, it was extended to Kannur much to the disappointment of the state passengers. This happened despite K.H. Muniyappa from the state being Minister of State for Railways.
Late E. Ahmed from Kerala who was also the railway minister of state then managed to get the service extended.
According to the railway ministry order, Train No. 16511/512 Bengaluru-Kannur-Bengaluru overnight express is extended to Kozhikode. Operating under the existing timetable, Train No. 16511 would reach Kozhikode at 12.40 pm with halts at Thalassery, Vadakara and Quilandi. Train No. 16512 leaves Kozhikode at 3.30 pm. The extension should happen at the earliest convenient date, the Ministry said.
Many took to social media to slam the raw deal for the state. The passengers said Kozhikode is already connected to Bengaluru through Train No. 16526/527 Yeshwantpur-Kannur-Yeshwantpur Daily and Train No. 16566/567 Yeshwantpur-Mangaluru Central-Yeshwantpur Weekly express via Shoranur and Palakkad.
They felt that the extension of the dedicated train of Mangaluru to Kozhikode would severely reduce the berth/ seat availability to passengers from Karnataka coast. Another passenger feared that the unreserved coaches become full before the Bengaluru-bound train enters Mangaluru and hence urged for dedicated quota of seats for coastal Karnataka passengers.
The passengers said that in the absence of any specific quota, people can book seats from anywhere to anywhere thereby reducing the availability in Karnataka. With Yeshwantpur-Kannur-Yeshwantpur express via Shoranur being always full, passengers between Kozhikode and Kannur would prefer to travel by the via Mangaluru train.