BALASORE: Resentment is brewing among the people of Balasore district over alleged apathy of South Eastern Railway towards Amarda railway station. Built before Independence, the station, which is the lifeline for commuters of several areas in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts, lacks basic facilities.
Weeds and creepers have taken over a major part of the platform which poses problems for senior citizens due to its low height. The station has no lighting facility, toilets for women, reservation counter and rest rooms. It also lacks an entrance gate.
Though it generates a revenue of `4 lakh every month, the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the development of the station. In the absence of proper connectivity, transportation of goods too has taken a hit.
The station also holds importance for tourists as it is close to Mayurbhanj border, a State Highway, National Highway and Amarda airstrip at Rashgobindpur. Apart from it, the station in the district under Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway is also a vital cargo hub.
Locals have demanded a halt of East Coast Express which connects Kolkata with Hyderabad and Salimar-Baripada Express trains at the station as these are busy routes.
Protesting the negligence and demanding better facilities, several organisations have threatened to stage an agitation. “A rail roko will be staged on August 17,” warned local leaders like former MLA Debi Prasanna Chand, former Sarpanch Pradip Kumar Behera, Ramesh Das, Rajkishore Mohanty and Debjit Ghose.
Organisations like Anchalika Bikash Manch, Friends and Cultural Association and some NGOs have submitted memorandum to the railway authorities over their demands but nothing has been done so far.
Leaders of the organisations said Kharagpur Divisional Railway Manager and Balasore MP have been apprised of the rail roko threat.
Ramchandra Roul, president of Anchalika Bikash Manch said Amarda Road is a commercial hub of Balasore and some parts of Mayurbhanj district in North Odisha. The development of the railway station will provide a boost for business and usher in more prosperity, the leaders cited.
Station Manager Dibakar Mohanty said higher authorities have been apprised of the basic needs of the railway station.