State

Dimapur station struggles to serve

Dimapur station struggles to serve
Water flowing into the railway platform through the roof at Dimapur train station. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, APR 23 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/23/2019 11:49:27 AM IST

Though the Ministry of Railways had announced the upgradation of 11 railway stations under Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to “airport-like standards” as part of a Rs 1 lakh crore station redevelopment programme; Dimapur railway station, among the 11 and despite being the second-highest revenue generating station under NFR, still grapples with lack of sanitation and basic passenger amenities. 

Despite enormous potential and the fact that the increase in volume of passengers is evident each day, instead poor infrastructures and insufficient amenities translate into injustice.

During the past weeks, the rush for seats witnessed thousands of travellers jostling for space due lack of seats and packing themselves into coaches like sardines. The election as well as Bihu during the past few weeks transformed Dimapur station into a sea of desperate humanity, a scene that should not have happened.

In the last few days, there have been several complaints from passengers in Dimapur of having to share their seats with other passengers despite possessing a valid reserved ticket. 

On speaking to railway officials here trains plying from Dimapur to lower Assam in the morning were packed to the brim and there were even reports of some people forced to sit in the driver’s cabin. When this Reporter checked with the ticket enquiry counter about the volume of passengers it was learnt that the increase of passengers travelling, particularly towards Hojai and Lanka in Assam was fairly frequent. An official at Dimapur railway station informed that the volume of passengers returning to Dimapur would continue to remain “very high for the next few days”.  When asked about lack of preparedness by the NFR in providing special arrangements for additional trains to accommodate excessive passengers, the official said that it required authorisation from a higher level. 

According to Officer in-Charge of Government Railway Police Service (GRPS) IL Imchen, the first point of contact in case any passengers were forced to share their reserved seat was travelling ticket examiners (TTEs). In case, the TTEs were not able to address their issue, the matter can be further brought to the attention of chief ticket inspector (CTI) and finally to GRPS. 

Another railway official advised passengers to dial “emergency helpline number 182” in case of any harassment or if coerced into sharing their reserved seats. In terms of passenger facilities, Dimapur railway station still lags behind even in comparison with smaller nearby railway stations which have witnessed major developments in the last few years. Dimapur has only one platform (No.1) with a canopy and those boarding or alighting at platform No.2 are subject to the ravages of rains, hot sun or chilly winter night due to absence of canopy.

The extension of platform No. 2 is also currently on halt due to alleged land encroachment.

It was also observed that the Reverse Osmosis (RO) dispenser at the railway station was not working. Though the railway engineering department had been notified, but there has been no response. A railway official revealed that the department’s personnel were active only during inspections by high ranking officials.

It was observed that whenever there is a heavy downpour, water floods inside railway station from two pillars which cause havoc with passengers. A railway official stated that repeated complaints sent to the railway engineering department have fallen on deaf ears.

Besides Nagaland, the railway station currently caters to passengers from two more States - Assam and Manipur. There are currently 36 trains plying through Dimapur but only the Nagaland Express and Dimapur-Guwahati BG Express emanate from Dimapur station. Due to the pressing demands the NPF authorities have to seriously consider giving more attention to the station in order to facilitate travel and comfort for the growing number of passengers. 

It may be mentioned that Kamakhya Railway station at Maligaon in Guwahati was recently upgraded with more amenities for passengers. Among the facilities recently added are-ten retiring rooms having free wifi, AC, TV etc., ten- bedded dormitory each for male and female passenger with free wifi, AC, TV etc. 

A waiting hall having capacity to accommodate 120 passenger having Digital display system, mobile charging points, AC, free Wifi, separate Male/Female washrooms, drinking water etc. were also added. Additional seating arrangement has been provided in platforms including Cafeteria. Even smaller stations between Dimapur and Guwahati besides Lumding, are being developed in a big way.

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