By: Vivek Gupta
There is no end to the VIP culture at the local railway station. Parking of vehicles is strictly prohibited at the drop-in lanes, but not if these are red-beaconed cars, or government and Army vehicles.
On Friday morning, government cars and Army vehicles were seen parked at the newly carved main drop-in lane, waiting for the arrival of the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express, which came at 11.05 am.
A little distance away, red-beaconed cars were lined up in another lane. Apparently, the arrangement has existed for long in order to provide direct access to VIPs boarding or getting off the executive coaches.
Although a board on the spot said that no vehicle was allowed there by the order of the Ambala Divisional Manager, Raj Kumar, SHO at the railway police station, claimed that government vehicles were not prohibited.
Anil Mathur, a marketing professional, wondered why VIP vehicles needed special privilege of a separate drop and pick-up spot.
However, Inspector General of Police (Railways) Shrikant Jadhav promised change. He said that the Railway Police would not allow any vehicle to wait and receive passengers.
“I am working on a list of government officials occupying constitutional posts and only they will be allowed a separate entry and exit. All other vehicles, whether red or blue-beaconed, will be directed to park inside the parking area only,” he said, adding that it might take approximately a week, but the police would streamline the system and inform both the media and the general public.
Jadhav said that the police had not allowed the pick-up facility in the drop-in lanes so as to avoid congestion, but “we are working on the possibility of a separate lane that can be allowed to receive passengers coming out of the railway station without disturbing the drop-in lane”.
Meanwhile, after the police put the dividers, the old ‘VIP lane’ has become “lane for pedestrians, senior citizens, differently abled, Army personnel, ambulance, two-wheelers and other government vehicles’’. The other lane is open to the general traffic. Then there is a third narrow lane which is made compulsory for taxis and autos, but the general public can also use it.
However, senior citizens were seen using other lanes than the one reserved for them. When asked, senior citizen Amar Kaushal said that the new lane system was confusing. “I only realised after the policeman on duty informed me that there was a separate lane for senior citizens,” he said.
Said another resident Mohit Kumar, “Even after creating an extra lane for general public by dividing the main lane, which had earlier been reserved only for VIPs, the situation at the ground has not yet changed much.”