Unlike the state transport department which had no option but to fulfil the whims and fancies of the Bharatiya Janata Party and arrange thousands of buses to ferry people to Jagraon for its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Fateh Rally on Sunday, the Railways has expressed its inability to provide extra coaches on the BJP’s demand.
Sources said the BJP sent a demand letter to the Railways asking for a separate train or special coaches to be added to the Ludhiana-Ferozepur passenger train which halts at Jagraon and departs from Ludhiana at 10.30 every morning.
However, already short of coaches, the Railways expressed its inability to add extra coaches. Talking to Newsline, Ravinder Sharma, station superintendent, Ludhiana, said: “We got the demand from the BJP but it was not practical. Already there are 14 coaches in that train and each can accommodate more than 300 people. On Sunday the train runs almost empty and people who want to attend the rally can easily be accommodated.”
The Railways has agreed to increase halt time at Jagraon from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to facilitate the passengers. “All we can do is to increase the halt time at Jagraon. We will instruct the guard and driver not to move till all the rush is cleared,” added Sharma.
Sources said that without permission from senior officials of Ferozepur division, it was not possible for Ludhiana division to take such a decision on its own. When contacted, N C Goyal, divisional railway manager, Ferozepur division, said, “Already passenger trains have more than enough coaches, so special arrangements for Modi’s rally were not practical. Moreover, I have not received any letter in Ferozepur here yet.”
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Manoj Kumar, deputy coaches, Ferozepur division, told Newsline, “We do not have any extra coaches to run for Modi’s rally. Neither there are any plans to arrange them. Train will run as per normal routine on Sunday from Ludhiana.”
When contacted, Parveen Bansal, district BJP president, said, “We did forward our request to Railways so that people do not face any difficulty in reaching the venue for rally.”