By Swetha Bommerla:
Three months ago, I visited New Delhi along with my class mates as a part of an educational trip.Â Due to non-availability of reservation I was forced to book the ticket under Tatkal quota by paying more money. I was too excited and was thinking that this trip would go down as the best days of my undergraduate life. The day finally arrived and I was eagerly waiting for the moment to say get, set, go! Last minute checking, advises from nervous parents, hugs and cries it were all happening and it gave a nice festive feel. Finally as the AP Express chugged out of the station it marked the starting of a journey I would treasure for a lifetime.
Each one of us shared our stories of adventure. Strained relations healed and new ones were made. This tour brought us even closer. We never thought we were making memories. We only thought we were having only fun. On morning of 27th January, the sleepy Secunderabad station woke up with hustle and bustle of exhausted group of students (read us).
Everything was going on well and I would like to share an irretrievable experience during my first travel on the AP express moving from Secunderabad to New Delhi.
As the journey started and the train was leaving Secunderabad, I saw people coming into the coach and slowly occupying our reserved seats mercilessly. At that instance, I had wanted to use the washroom – and left the seat.Â On my return I saw that my seat was occupied by someone.Â Seeing me, he just offered to share the seat without moving. After every station people went on adding. At 2030 hours (8:30pm), our coach was crowded with people.Â I saw them using the corridor, space between the seats and nearby toilets for sitting and sleeping. With their actions we were unable to sit on our seat or sleep on berths. People were boarding in and getting out of the train continuously at every station all the day and night. Finally we reached New Delhi, the next day early morning. At the time of getting out the train I noticed that my water can and one bag was missing.
From the above incident, I noticed that there is no administration working in the Indian Railways.Â No one cares whether it is a reserved coach or general.
This kind of situation goes on in almost all the trains.Â In this context, a 32-year old man says “This is due to the issue of abnormal number of waiting list tickets allotted to people by the railway department in greed of money, throwing away the comforts of commuters.”Â I even noticed that the people with general tickets, monthly season tickets and some without any ticket were boarding the reserved compartments fearlessly. A mother of two children claims that “Neither the TTE nor the security personnel check and bother about the passengers’ comforts.” A retired old man complains, “Those people without reservation not have the minimum courtesy to give my seat back. On questioning the same they use abusive words regardless of my age”.
Why is the Indian Railways in such a pathetic state?