Mayurbhanj: Downgrading of superfast train sparks resentment

The recent downgrade to an express train reflects the Ministry’s constant apathy towards the district.
The change in train status means longer travel times, as the express train will not reach Puri until 11.05 am, affecting commuters.
The change in train status means longer travel times, as the express train will not reach Puri until 11.05 am, affecting commuters. (File Photo | PTI)

BARIPADA : Resentment is brewing among residents of Mayurbhanj district after the railway authorities downgraded the status of the Bangiriposi-Puri Superfast train to an express train, effective from July 1, 2024.

A letter issued by the principal chief operations manager in Bhubaneswar, East Coast Railway, on Wednesday, confirmed the change. Soon after, the people of Mayurbhanj expressed their discontent with the Ministry of Railways and the BJP government, accusing them of neglecting the tribal district.

Since Independence, Mayurbhanj has been neglected in the railway sector. After repeated requests, the Ministry of Railways introduced a narrow-gauge train, later upgrading it to a broad-gauge train, and eventually provided the Bangiriposi-Bhubaneswar Superfast train to address communication issues in the district, the residents stated. Following public demand, this service was extended to Puri. However, the recent downgrade to an express train reflects the Ministry’s constant apathy towards the district, they alleged.

A bus journey to the state headquarters in Bhubaneswar costs more than Rs 500. The change in train status means longer travel times, as the express train will not reach Puri until 11.05 am, affecting commuters.

President of Mayurbhanj Railway Traveler Forum, Abhijit Ram, said that the district had long demanded more train services to address communication problems. The sudden downgrade of the Bangiriposi-Puri Superfast train to an express train is seen as a neglect of the district.

“Commuters will face delays and struggle to find transportation late at night upon arrival. The BJP candidates for Assembly and Lok Sabha seats had assured voters that the party’s top priority would be railway development in Mayurbhanj if they formed the government,” he stated.

However, on the swearing-in ceremony for the chief minister and state ministers, the downgrade of the superfast train status is being seen as a betrayal, he said, adding, the forum plans to meet Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to request the status of superfast train for the Bangiriposi-Puri train. “If our demand is not met, the forum will organise protests against the railway department’s decision,” he warned.

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