The Indo-Bangladesh Maitreyee Express,which runs between the two countries over the weekend,will ply with changed timings from August 15.
According to sources in the Railways,the train that was introduced with much fanfare had gradually seen a steady decline in the number of passengers due to its inconvenient timings. The train can accommodate around 350 passengers. But in the last six to seven months,the passenger count has dipped to as low as 45 to 50, said a senior official.
He added that the main reason behind the decline was the fact that businessmen who travelled by the train were forced to spend a week in the city,since business houses remained closed on Sundays. Even after the completion of their work,they would have to wait for the next weekend to board the train.
Under the new scheme of things,the train will leave Kolkata on Tuesdays and Saturdays and return on Wednesdays and Sundays.
P Guha,DRM of Sealdah division,said: With trains being distributed over the week,we hope that people come to the city during the week,complete their transactions and return during the weekend.
Railway officials also said that additional RPF personnel will be deployed since the lie over for the two rakes will now be for three days. While the Indian rake will be there for three days,the Bangladesh rake will also be here for the same time period. We do not want any security hassles, said Guha. Two additional platforms are also being built at the Kolkata terminal to accommodate the new timings.
In spite of the change in timings,the logistic problems still remain from lack of facilities like lodging near the station to transportation. We will address these problems in a coordinating committee meeting to be held next week. The Indian High Commissioner is also expected to discuss these issues next week, Guha added.