People using train services in South Dinajpur are unhappy with the irregular railway services.The lack of infrastructure at stations, unavailability of signalling systems and termination of AC coaches from trains without prior information have left travellers angry.
Rail services were introduced in South Dinajpur on 30 December 2004, and since then only three new trains have been added, while only two of them run directly from Balurghat–one to Kolkata and another to Howrah, which runs twice a week.
One link train as an intercity service has also been introduced to run till Siliguri. “Infrastructure of railway stations in the district needs up-gradation.
Important stations like Buniadpur and Gangarampur have no passenger sheds. There is no signalling system after crossing the Buniadpur station towards Balurghat. This condition has remained since the last 14 years,” a passenger said.
Earlier in November 2017, the Katihar division of the Indian Railways had introduced an AC compartment for the Kolkata-bound Tevaga Express. However, in the last two months, its service has become irregular.
“We want an AC ticket for the Tevega Express, but the Railway staffers have informed us that the facility has been withdrawn. This is the third time after the introduction of the AC coach that the Railways has withdrawn the facility without prior information,” said a passenger, Ashok Kumar Agarwal.
A staff at the Railway ticket reservation counter, Sanjoy Prasad, however, said the coach had been withdrawn after prior information was given. “There is a huge demand for AC tickets for the Tevaga Express. Passengers are facing problems and they are unhappy with the decision of the Railways,” he said.
The secretary of the Eklakhi Balurghat Rail Unnyan Committee, Pijush Kanti Dev, said, “We are fighting for the people of South Dinajpur since the last 10 years. The infrastructure of Railways in the district is not up to the mark.
Except for the Balurghat station, there are no sheds for passengers in any of the other platforms in the stations in the district.
The train timings are also poor. We have also demanded another AC coach in the Gour Link Express and we are waiting for a reply from the Railways. We will start a movement from next month if our demand is not fulfilled.”