ROURKELA: It could be some more time before the night train services resume on the busy Howrah-Mumbai route. If sources in the South Eastern Railways (SER) are to be believed they have no specific clue as yet as to when night train services would begin on the Rourkela-Kharagpur and Kharagpur-Adra sections.
Owing to suspension of train services between 10 pm and 5 am at least a dozen important trains are getting rescheduled, while half-a-dozen others are either plying through alternative routes or facing regulation.
The SER’s decision bodes ill for Rourkela junction with the station losing two most sought-after trains. Utkal Express, the only direct train to Delhi, has been withdrawn and is plying from Jharsuguda.
Similarly, the Samaleswari Express now goes via Sambalpur-Angul-Cuttack-Howrah. SER General Manager Vinay Mittal, who was on a day’s visit to here yesterday, said the SER can do little without security clearance from the Union Home Ministry. At a meeting with local delegates over the issue, Mittal blamed the Orissa and the Jharkhand governments claiming that they were not doing enough to bring back the confidence among the staff.
Here’s some solace for the beleaguered passengers though. If the SER chief is to be believed then by March the Ranchi-Delhi Garib Rath and Hatia-Jammu Tawi Express would be extended till Rourkela station. Train services during night were suspended following derailment of Jnaneswari Express on May 28 last year due to Maoist sabotage.
Meanwhile, it is being apprehended that normalcy is unlikely before the West Bengal Assembly polls. The local BJD has, however, pinned all hopes on a meeting of the State Government with the chiefs of SER and ECoR.
In a decision taken at a recent meeting of Railway Board, 90 new trains have been proposed among which 75 have to be finalized, and again the steel city of Rourkela has been left out ,while Ranchi and Tatanagar have managed to get more than their share. Hence without wasting any more time, Rourkela Division should be constituted under the administration of East Coast Railways, so that justice is done for the 50 lakh people of Sundargarh,Keonjhar and Jharsuguda districts