Budget must help common passengers

In the forthcoming Railway Budget, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav should try to improve the railway services and help the second class passengers. Second Class sleeper ticket should also be made available at the unreserved ticket counter as in the Southern Railway.

At present, whenever a passenger is forced to undertake unplanned journey, he is forced to travel by crowded unreserved compartments. If one enters the Sleeper Class with an ordinary unreserved ticket, even when vacant sleepers are available, he is either made to pay a penalty of Rs 360 against the receipt or about Rs 200 to the TC as a bribe.

In all long distance trains, almost 50 per cent berths remain vacant for a distance of about 300 km between the originating and terminating stations.

Most passengers in these trains travel short distances. For example, in the train from Amritsar to Nander Sahib, 40 per cent berths remain vacant up to Delhi. The same is the case after Manmad. There should be reserved coaches with only sitting facility in each train with a conductor to provide reservation at the platform itself. There is no justification to have only reserved sleeper coaches in a train when over 70 per cent passengers travel short distances.

The Railways should work out an arrangement to help common people undertake unplanned journey in an environment where they are safe, comfortable and don’t feel out of place. Of course, for this comfort, they would be happy to pay extra.




The hidden charges contributed some part to the railways’ profit last year. AC charges were claimed reduced but only for AC Two-tier and many otherhidden charges were imposed. If a ticket is booked at a computerisedcounter other than the destination station or if the return journey ticket isbooked from the destination station, charges are levied.

Tatkal reservation quota is quite high which adds to the railways’ earnings. Moreover, a full journey ticket is charged end-to-end journey irrespective of boarding in the intermediate or destination station. No concession is granted in case of upgradation of the class of travel. This kind of arbitrary treatment to passengers should end as our country is a welfare state.

The Railway Minister should note that there is no direct train from Ambala Cantonment to Ferozepur. There is also no train from Delhi towards Patiala, Dhuri and Bathinda in the morning hours and vice versa from Bathinda, Dhuri, Patiala in the evening hours. An Inter-city New Delhi-Ferozepur train via Ambala, Patiala, Dhuri, Bathinda and Kotkapura is a pressing necessity.

This train may leave New Delhi at about 5.30 a.m. and return from Ferozepur in the afternoon the same day. This will solve the long standing demand of passengers on this section.

O. P. GARG, Patiala

Check illegal mining

Reports of illegal mining from Neugal bed threatening ecology are cause for major concern. This mining is taking place under the nose of the civil authorities. Worse, all the rivulets flowing from Dhaulandhar ranges right from Binwa (Baijnath) to Chakki (Nurpur) are facing the same situation.

The beds of all these rivulets have deepened tremendously. These rivulets used to provide irrigation to low lying strips along the valley through perennial kuhal.

However, due to illegal mining, tractors purchased for agricultural purposes have deepened the beds in such a manner that in Mol valley alone, hundreds of acres of irrigated land have become barren in the gram panchayats of Bandahoo, Sanhoon, Samba, Rora, Bhoda and Kharul.

Apparently, the civil administration and the Mining Department officials are hand in glove with the mining mafia. When the mining field staff are approached, they complain about the shortage of staff and multiplicity of mining spots in a mining guard’s beat. Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the government should empower the police, the forest and the revenue departments to initiate legal action against the owners of tractors, tempos and trucks engaged in illegal mining.

P.C. MISHRA, Mol Ghati Kisan (Palampur), Kangra

Quality of education

As an educationist, I found the article “Higher education pressing need of nation, says expert” (Feb 15) very interesting. It is good that Mr Amarjit Singh Sodhi of the US has planned to offer scholarships to meritorious and needy students for higher education. However, he has excluded pure science from his list of higher education.

The importance of pure sciences does not require elaboration. After 10+2, meritorious students go in for medical, engineering and other professional courses, leaving the rest for pure sciences. The need of the hour is to award scholarships to meritorious students to go in for B.Sc, M. Sc and Ph. D courses. This will give us brilliant university teachers who will improve the quality of higher education.

Dr A.N. NIGAM, Ludhiana

Chaotic traffic

Driving in and around Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali is no more a pleasure. The traffic is becoming more and more chaotic. The fault lies with the administration: there is no marking on most roads and no one observes lane discipline, especially near the traffic lights.

This gives flexibility to the impatient driver to circumvent - with the police so engrossed in challaning others mostly on flimsy grounds to earn incentives. Moreover, the slip roads are so narrow that the long queues for straight driving vehicles cause them to choke. These must start at least 100 meters before the busy traffic lights. Bus and truck drivers think they have the right of way by driving on the fast lane on the right. Why can’t we have explicit marking here as in New Delhi?

Col MAHESH CHADHA (retd), Panchkula



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