With newly launched trains being flagged off more than once,inaugurating the locomotives maiden journey is fast turning into a political exercise for MPs and MLAs.
While the Amritsar-Lalkuan Express,which started on Wednesday,was flagged off first at 5.55 am at Amritsar by MLA Rajkumar Verka,it was flagged off yet again from Chandigarh at 10.30 am by former railways minister and Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Similarly,the Nanded Express was flagged off thrice on Thursday (October 3). After its inauguration at Anandpur Sahib around 5 pm by Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu,his party member and MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu showed the train a green flag at Mohali at 6.30 pm. Meanwhile,Bansal flagged off the Nangal Dam-Anandpur Sahib-Hazur Sahib (Nanded) Express at 7 pm at the Chandigarh railway station.
Reportedly,Sidhu personally organised the flagging-off ceremony of the Nanded Express in Mohali,while the other two inaugural functions were helmed by the Northern Railways.
We exercise no control if someone wishes to hold a flag off ceremony in their own capacity. That said,all official flag-off functions fall in our domain as ordered by the Ministry of Railways, said spokesperson for the Northern Railways (Ambala Division). The two ceremonies for the Amritsar-Lalkuan Expresss were also organised by the Railways.
On being asked about the necessity for organising four functions for two trains,a miffed divisional railways manager A K Khatpal said,What is the harm if somebody wants to celebrate the launch of a new train? Why should we stop if someone wants to distribute sweets at the railway station? Please focus on the positive side here.
Continuing the unusual spree of more than one flag-off,the Kalka-Shirdi Express that will start on October 6,will also be launched twice.
While Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment,Ambala MP Kumari Selja will launch the bi-weekly train first at Kalka,Bansal will flag it off again in the evening at Chandigarh.
Looks like our elected representatives and Railways plan to give a new meaning altogether to the term flagging off.