Jajpur residents demand restoration of passenger train services

Japur: Local residents on Monday demanded the restoration of passenger train service to Jajpur, which was suspended following the Covid-19 outbreak. As the Covid-19 situation has already normalized in the state, essential rail service must be restored immediately, they said.

“Passenger trains are mainly used by poor and middle-class commuters as an economical means of transport. However, the service has not yet been restored, which is causing problems,” said many residents of this city.

“The daily number of coronavirus cases in Odisha has dropped below 50 per day. Previously imposed Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, tourist destinations, markets, offices, educational institutions and religious places in Jajpur have also been opened. The campaign for the ULB elections is in full swing. Only passenger train services remained suspended,” residents added.

Most of the express trains passing through Jajpur railway station are operated as ‘specials’, excluding passenger trains. Similarly, the Talcher-Puri MEMU (passenger train), which has been on hold since March 2020, is awaiting the green light from the railway authorities to resume operations.

Former Jajpur commuters could travel to Cuttack and Bhubaneswar on passenger trains by paying only Rs 10. To go to Puri, they only had to pay 20 rupees.

A large number of people travel daily to Cuttack on passenger trains from Jajpur district to go to Orissa High Court, Odisha Police DG Office, SCB Medical College and Hospital , National Law University, Ravenshaw University and many other important places. Several residents of Jajpur also travel to the capital to join the Lok Seva Bhawan (secretariat), Utkal University and other places.

Local residents demanding restoration of normal passenger train services include Purnachandra Das, Ashutosh Kar from Jajpur-Keonjhar Road locality and Ramchandra Pratap, Nirmal Sahu and Bijaya Kumar Khandayi from Haridaspur, all members of a local ‘Rail team Yatri Sangh’.

Some of the temporarily canceled major passenger trains passing through Jajpur en route to Cuttack and Bhubaneswar include: Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar MEMU, Bhadrak-Cuttack MEMU, Paradip-Cuttack MEMU, Cuttack-Ichhapuram MEMU, Bhubaneswar-Berhampur MEMU, Khurda Road-Kharagpur Fast Passenger and the passenger Santragachi-Puri.

A total of four passenger trains previously ran between Paradip and Cuttack daily, before the Covid-19 outbreak and only one train is now running.

Apparently, a few MEMU trains running these days are charging more than the usual fare price than before. The railways charge people more under the guise of providing “special” services. As a result, the high rates dig a huge hole in the pockets of commuters.

Jose P. Rogers