It is a village-level station for a city like Mohali, said an official working at the Mohali Railway Station,while summing up the condition of the station.
Mohali,which is gradually developing an identity of its own rather than being a suburb of Chandigarh,got its railway station in 2006 when it was declared to be a district. However,the station has failed to satisfy passengers even seven years after its inception,mainly due to the poor infrastructure and lack of facilities.
There is no bus service available to and from the station located in Kambala village on the outskirts of the town. The nearest point to board a bus is about 1.5 km away.
Earlier this year,the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) had initiated a bus service,which was called off due to a poor response.
There were no passengers to board the bus because it came at odd hours. There was a mismatch between the train timings and the bus service. A bus came every half an hour when there was nobody at the station. However,when needed,especially in the morning when hundreds of passengers get down from the Amritsar-Chandigarh train,there were dozens of auto-rickshaws but no bus. The administration called off the service instead of fixing the timings, said an employee at the station.
Passengers also complained that only a single-route bus was started. In the absence of a bus,the passengers have to either walk a mile or pay hefty amounts for the auto-rickshaws.
T P S Phulka,CTU director,when contacted said the service was cancelled due to a shortage of buses.
The number of buses has considerably reduced after a hundred buses were condemned. We will soon get a new fleet of buses and probably start the service again, he said.
Adding to the woes of the passengers is the absence of announcements when a train is running late.
Most of the time the trains are running late but there is no notice or announcement to inform passengers. Stations in small towns have this facility, complained Mohit Sharma,a frequent traveller.
Also,there is no canteen or any food service on the premises,which causes a problem to passengers arriving late at night. First,the trains are late and then there is nothing to eat here while we wait, said a passenger.
The station has only a few dusty chairs in the waiting area where the fans do not work. The toilet near the platform is locked,while the one on the ground floor is unclean,while a patch of fungus can be spotted on the water cooler.
Most passengers sit on the steps near the platform. Also,when the upper floor toilet was open,the whole area was filled with a stench,which is probably why they closed it down, said Neeraj Kumar,who boards a train every week.
Even the reservation counter closes at 4 pm,while the closing time at counters in Chandigarh is 8 pm.
The official at the railway station refused to comment on the issues,while A K Khatpal,District Railway Manager,Ambala division,said there were no plans to renovate the station as ticket sales were too few.
We include more facilities for the public based on the ticket sales, he said.
The only silver lining for the station is the recent start of two new weekly trains – Amritsar-Lalkuan Express and Nangal-Nanded Express – taking the total tally of trains stopping at the station to six.
We are hopeful the station will get a facelift soon as a large pool of passengers will be added now. If nothing else,at least the bus service is likely to resume, said an employee.