CHENNAI: A group of 45 female students and staff from the MOP Vaishnav College in city, who were among the many left stranded at the Delhi airport after Spicejet cancelled their flights earlier this week, were floored by the hospitality provided by the Railway Ministry, which arranged a special coach for them to return to Chennai.
The group consisting of 42 college students from the Food Science Department had left for Delhi on December 11 for a conference at National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) in Sonepat, Haryana. They were scheduled to return to Chennai on December 16 by Spicejet flight SG 309 at 7 PM that day, which, however, was first delayed and later cancelled.
“Since we had no way out, we reached the Delhi railway station in the cold winter night on Tuesday and were pondering over travelling in an unreserved compartment up to Chennai,” said Usha Ravi, professor at the Food Science department of the college who headed the group.
Meanwhile, she managed to source the number of Union MoS for finance and commerce, Nirmala Seetharaman, and told her of their travails. “She is a minister, woman and from Tamil Nadu. After I personally spoke to her, she made some calls and arranged for our lodging at a hotel where our every need was taken care of,” explained Ravi.
Later, Seetharaman spoke to officials in the Railway Ministry to arrange for a special coach for the group to return to Chennai.
Though the group desired a coach on the Grand Trunk Express on Tuesday night itself, the ministry could manage to send them only the next day in the Rajdhani Express at 4 PM. A three-tier AC bogie was attached to the train and the relieved group reached Chennai on Thursday night. “We paid `2,800 per head for all the facilities. But thankfully we managed to make it back to Chennai,” said Ravi. This move by Indian Railways has been hailed by people on social media after the official account of Indian Railways put it on facebook and Twitter, on Tuesday.