Thousands of passengers arriving and departing from the city railway station are being put to a lot of hardship due to lack of basic amenities and poor maintenance.
The railway station, which is one of the major stations in the State, receives more than four lakh passengers every day but still the condition of the railway station is appalling and passengers needs are not catered to by the concerned authorities.
On entering the railway station, one can notice long queues at the ticket counters, with two out of the six closed. The queue reserved for physically handicapped people was jam packed with passengers and no physically challenged person can dare to enter that queue. The general enquiry counter hardly functions with barely anyone around to reply to the queries of the people.
The shortage of ticket counters and personnel to manage the huge rush at the railway station is causing severe inconvenience to the commuters. Passengers awaiting their turn to book tickets have to reckon with serpentine queues during peak hours.
Meanwhile, several passengers, who stay inside the premises for longer hours to change trains, do not find a proper restroom or proper sitting arrangement on the platforms. Even if they were to find one to sit, it is full of filth.
The lobby in the station hardly has any space, and people can be seen sleeping on the ground, with even stray dogs roaming around and sleeping comfortably with the passengers. There are also no proper seating arrangements for the passengers. Enter the railway station at any time of the day, people can be seen sitting on the floor on the platforms and the worst affected due to this are the senior citizens. Nothing has been done over the years to increase the seating capacity at the station despite the number of passengers and commuters have increased.
Moreover, there is an absence of luggage scanners, CCTV cameras, metal detectors or any form of security system. J and K is high on the terror radar but the railway authorities seem to be unaware of it and that is the reason that they do not have any precautionary devices installed and hardly bothered about this. No one is there to keep a check on the luggage and other belongings of the passengers.
Not a single person at the station STATE TIMES talked to, said to have got a good response on phone from railway enquiry or was satisfied with the facilities provided at the railway station.
“This place is like an 19th century station. It is in a pathetic condition and it surprises me that nothing has been done to improve the situation here. One will find stray dogs sleeping and roaming freely around, big size rats are roaming here and there. There is so much importance given to improve the airport, which is used by about two to three lakh people in a year, whereas the railway station, which is used by two to five lakh people a day, is being neglected to such a terrible extent,” Prakash, a traveller said.
Not a single passenger at the station appeared to be satisified with the service provided. Poonam Baldotra, wife of a former Army officer said, “It is really sad that there is only a common passenger counter. No special queue is there for the female