Bangalore/Mangalore, Aug 19, 2013, DHNS :
The train from Yeshwantpur (Bangalore) to Mangalore passing through Tamil Nadu and Kerala is turning out to be too hot to handle for the Railways, even on a temporary basis.
A weekly special from Yeshwantpur to Mangalore that was announced last Friday was suddenly cancelled the next day, ostensibly due to model code of conduct in force due to Lok Sabha bypolls.
The announcement in the latest Railway Budget that a new train will be introduced from Bangalore to Mangalore had brought much cheer to people in the state, who largely prefer train travel between the two destinations, due to the bad roads.
However, the Railway Board put a stop to it, by announcing a route that was described as ridiculous and absurd by many. The reason was that the train, which was supposed to start from Yeshwantpur, did not pass through Karnataka, except for Banaswadi, K R Puram and Bangarpet stations, until it reached Mangalore. The train passed through stations in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, before it reached Mangalore via Kasargod, taking nearly 18 hours.
The same route, now proposed for a special train supposed to run once a week only for three trips from August 18 to September 2, 2013 was withdrawn just after a day of it being announced.
Interestingly, sources in Railways themselves, say that the demand of the Southern Railways to cater to people heading to Kerala is the primary reason for opting this route.
“There was a demand that there were no trains to Bangalore on this route from Kerala. The Railway Board might have therefore capitulated to this demand,” a senior official in the Railways said. Officials also confirmed that the traffic from Bangalore to Kerala is also high around this time of the year, the standard criteria to introduce a temporary train on the route.
Railway Board blamed
While Railway officials stated that Bangalore Divisional Railway Manager Anil K Agarwal had been asked to reconsider the route, Agarwal denied having received any such request and cited the model code of conduct for the cancellation. However, since the train was neither a regular one nor was it being flagged off on account of being only a temporary arrangement to clear the extra rush, no model code of conduct is likely to apply.
Agarwal who initially insisted that the route planned was due to technical reason of having to attach only a diesel locomotive only once, later said that it was the decision of the Railway Board and he was not responsible for it. He also agreed that they had received several complaints on the route.
Travellers from Karnataka have made it amply clear that the route is simply not acceptable. Udupi-Chikmagalur MP K Jayaprakash Hegde has been most vocal in his complaint. “If they want to run a train to Kerala, let them run a direct train. Where is the need to run a train from Bangalore to Mangalore and not have it touch any place in Karnataka? There is simply no sense in this” he said. According to Hegde, the members of the Railway Board have agreed to reconsider the route.
The industry in both Bangalore and Mangalore are also unhappy with the proposed route. R Shivakumar, president, Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “We are against this. We are requesting the Railway Minister to intervene.”
On the other, the Canara Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Mangalore and Railway Yatri Sangha of Udupi are holding a meeting on August 21, where the agenda is to demand the Bangalore-Mangalore weekly train via Hassan.