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December 13, 2012

Poor cousins run on the slow track

SAME FATE If the New Delhi junction is struggling with several problems, the situation at four other stations in the Capital is no different

NEW DELHI: Apart from New Delhi, the national Capital has four other stations are not comparable to the showpiece one in terms of size. But together they cater to a staggering 10 lakh passengers daily. Yet, they are also grappling with several problems because they are low on the railways' priority list.
Their tale of woes include issues such as congested entries, poor security and sanitation, and even monkeys.
Inaugurated in 2009, to cater to eastbound trains from Delhi, Anand Vihar is still in relatively good shape. But the railways needs to immediately improve the condition of the other three — Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Sarai Rohilla.
At the Old Delhi station — which preceded the New Delhi railway station by 60 years — the lounge and some platforms have been improved but only to an extent. The entry is a nightmare. Worse is in store once you are on the premises. Open urinals and stray dogs are a big put off. The tracks are extremely dirty. "The railways must build a facility to wash the tracks. You cannot stand here because of the stench," said Sumit Kumar Singh, a passenger.

The real danger lurks at the platforms. Groups of monkeys harass passengers all the time.
At the Hazrat Nizamuddin station, congestion has been eased after a prepaid taxi service was started, waiting rooms opened and a second foot-over bridge put in place but poor security is what strikes you first. A walk up to the overbridge towards the platforms reveals a non-functional baggage scanner with a signboard saying "Machine Kharab Hai" (The machine is out of order). There are no security personnel anywhere in sight at the door frame metal detectors. "So many bomb blasts have happened in Delhi yet these people are not alert," said Rajesh Tyagi, a passenger. Many of the drinking water taps on the platform lie defunct amid filth.
The approach to the Sarai Rohilla station is a real nightmare for passengers. They have to manoeuvre through narrow lanes in gated colonies off the New Rohtak Road. "Officials have been promising for years that they would ensure a wide entry to the station, but nothing has happened," said a passenger.
"The old and dilapidated station building has been renovated. But there's shortage of drinking water," admitted a railway employee at the station. There is hardly any security and garbage can be seen strewn all over the premises. Waiting rooms are dirty and passengers prefer to sit and wait at the platforms.
At Anand Vihar station, passengers don't seem to have many complaints. "But a new, well-maintained station should not make officials complacent,” cautioned Rita Sulekha, a passenger.

Source: Hindustan Times, Delhi Edition, 13.12.2012

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