Malabar travellers decry ‘wagon tragedy’

For a long time, passengers have demanded an increase in general coaches on Parasuram Express.
Rush of passengers waiting to enter the Parasuram Express at Kozhikode railway station
Rush of passengers waiting to enter the Parasuram Express at Kozhikode railway stationPhoto | Express

KOZHIKODE: Daily train commuters in Malabar region now refer to their travel as the “wagon tragedy”. They blame disorganised rail traffic and unnecessary upgrades to general compartments by Southern Railway (SR) for their travails.

Passengers from Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasaragod primarily rely on Parasuram and Malabar Express during peak hours. Overcrowding in the general compartments of these trains and irregular halts to facilitate Vande Bharat services have led to numerous unfortunate incidents. Last summer, not a single day passed without a passenger collapse or a scuffle between travellers and train ticket examiners (TTEs).

For a long time, passengers have demanded an increase in general coaches on Parasuram Express. Although railway announced that a general car would be introduced in March in addition to the existing 22 coaches, no changes have been made. Instead, authorities reduced a general coach from Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Maveli Express last month and added an extra sleeper car.

The announcement of the extension of Bangalore-Kannur Express to Kozhikode was met with great joy and relief by passengers. However, despite the decision made in January, the implementation has been delayed due to strong resistance from the Karnataka BJP.

“I have to board Parasuram Express at 7.07am every day to reach my institute in Kozhikode by 9.30am. The general compartment will be full on most days. The situation worsens when the train reaches Vadakara, as the compartments will be packed with students and employees travelling to Kozhikode,” said Akhila Dhivakaran, a 24-year-old student from Mavilayi, Kannur, who travels to Kozhikode daily for her coaching classes. The issues with Parasuram and Malabar Express trains also extend to other services, such as Mangaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Express and Mangaluru-Chennai Express. Notably, out of the four attacks on TTEs this year, two occurred in the Malabar region — one in Tirur and another in Vadakara. Both incidents were the result of overcrowding in general compartments.

Meanwhile, railway authorities are claiming that Kerala only witnesses seasonal rushes. “Almost all trains in Kerala run at the full capacity of 24 coaches. We can’t add more coaches. From what we have observed, there are only seasonal rushes in Kerala. During festival seasons and exam times we add more coaches,” said an official with SR’s Palakkad division.

He said the division has sent proposal to the Centre regarding the extension of Kannur Express to Kozhikode and hopes the decision will be implemented soon after the formation of the new government.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com