Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 20
With the Indian Railways deciding to transport for free the aid and relief material to Kerala in the wake of recent floods, the local railway station has made arrangements to introduce the same facility.
City railway station’s Officiating Director Amrit Singh said the parcel wing had been directed not to charge for transporting aid.
Railway officials here received a communiqué from the Ministry of Railways regarding free transportation of relief material and aid to flood-affected state. Free transportation of aid and relief material will be applicable to all stations of Kerala, as of now.
It stated that all consignments carried in passenger trains through parcel vans as well as intra-state coaching trains carrying relief material would be covered under three guidelines, so as to ensure faster transit.
It intimated that the guidelines were equivocally categorical that all government organisations across the country can book relief material for free.
“Since the transportation of relief material shall be undertaken free of charge, therefor no ancillary charges like demurrage/wharfage, etc., or others are to be charged on the same,” said railway officials.
GS Bedi, finance secretary of the Guru Nanak Gurpurab Committee, appreciated the move of the railways. He said there were a large number of philanthropic organisations keen on despatching relief material for the affected people. He added that free of cost transportation would offer them an opportunity to donate material in good quantity.
There is only one weekly train between Amritsar and Kerala — Amritsar-Kochuveli Express (12484). It takes over 60 hours to travel a distance of about 3,300 km. Though there are about 500 intermediate stations between Amritsar and Kochuveli, the train takes only 25 halts.
The trains begins its journey from Amritsar every Sunday at about 5:50 am and reaches Kochuveli on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it departs for return journey and reaches here on Friday. It has got 23 bogeys with two sitting-cum-luggage rooms (SLR) to accommodate the aid and relief material for the flood-affected people.
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