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12567/68 राज्यरानी सुपरफास्ट की धाक राजधानी से कम नहीं है। - Prabhat Sharan

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Sat Oct 19 00:25:32 IST
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News Entry# 388973
Aug 19 (02:40) Rail users unite to demand gatekeepers, resumption of express trains (

News Entry# 388973  Blog Entry# 4404699   
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Eight rail users associations in the delta region have joined hands and formed a federation to raise their demands in one voice for deployment of full-time gatekeepers on the newly converted broad gauge line from Tiruvarur to Karaikudi via Pattukottai and early resumption of express trains to Chennai from Karaikudi via Aranthangi, Pattukottai and Tiruvarur.
Christened the Federation of Tiruvarur – Pattukottai - Karaikudi Broad Gauge Line Rail Users Associations, the body was formed a month ago to unitedly put forth the twin demands to the railway administration aggrieved over the delay in restoration of express trains on the newly converted BG stretch due to non-deployment of gatekeepers at manned level crossings.
Federation comprises the Tiruvarur District Rail Users Committee, Tiruthuraipoondi Rail Users Association, Muthupet Rail Users Association, Adiramapattinam Rail Users Association, Pattukottai Taluk Railway Passengers Welfare Association, Pattukottai Rail Users Association, Peravurani Taluk Rail Users Association and Aranthangi Division Rail Users Association.
Although broad gauge conversion project in the nearly 150-km Tiruvarur – Tiruthuraipoondi – Pattukottai – Aranthangi- Karaikudi section was completed in phases after long delay in execution of works and statutory clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Bengaluru, was obtained, express train services are yet to restart till date due to delay in deployment of gate-keepers for the manned level crossings, lament rail users.
The mandatory clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety for operation of train services in the Pattukottai – Karaikudi BG stretch came in March last, while the nod for the remaining Tiruvarur –Tiruthuraipoondi – Pattukottai section came in March endr.
The Diesel Electric Multiple Service (DEMU) train service with three cars and without toilets is being operated at present from Karaikudi to Tiruvarur and back daily, barring Sundays, and does not serves any purpose for regular commuters as the travel time taken is nearly seven hours, says Pattukottai-based N. Jayaraman, president of the Federation.
The mobile gatekeeper system put in place in the absence of deployment of full-time gatekeepers at the manned gates is the main cause for the long time duration taken from Tiruvarur to Karaikudi and back. The DEMU train halts a few distance away from the manned gate and the mobile gatekeepers on board alight and close the gate for the train to pass. After crossing the gate, the train halts again and the mobile gatekeeper opens the gate and boards the train again.
Mr. Jayaraman says the Tiruvarur – Pattukottai – Karaikudi section has 72 manned gates for which full-time gatekeepers are yet to be posted by the railway administration despite repeated demand from the rail users association since completion of the project.
If the gauge conversion project took a long time for completion, delay in resumption of express trains due to non-deployment of gatekeepers is causing concern to travellers residing in this part of the region, rues Mr. Jayaraman.
Travellers from Pattukottai, Peravurani, Adiramapattinam, Aranthangi and Tiruthuraipoondi have been deprived of rail services to Chennai for seven years now forcing them to travel by bus, says G. Moorthy, secretary, Pattukottai Rail Passengers Association.
At present, passengers have to go all the way to Thanjavur or Mannargudi to board trains causing huge inconvenience to them especially senior citizens and pregnant women, adds Mr. Moorthy.
The railway administration could have planned better having known in advance as to when the gauge conversion project in the entire stretch was expected to conclude and acted accordingly in deploying gatekeepers, feel rail users in the delta region.
Despite creating necessary assets by pumping in crores of rupees, the BG stretch is neither being properly utilised nor meeting the social obligation of operating express rail services, says Mr. Jayaraman.
Aggrieved over the delay in resumption of express train services, the Federation members have planned to unitedly bring the issue to the notice of the railway administration by holding a gate meeting in front of the office of the Divisional Railway Manager at Tiruchi on August 20.
The meeting will be held in a peaceful way to put forth the twin demands of immediate deployment of full-time gatekeepers at manned gates along the Tiruvarur - Pattukottai-Karaikudi stretch and operation of express train either in the night or day from Karaikudi to Chennai and back via Aranthangi, Pattukottai, Tiruthuraipoondi and Tiruvarur, says Mr. Jayaraman.
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