Passenger association to step up backlash against railways – The New Indian Express
KOCHI: Accusing the railways of treating Kerala like a ‘mother-in-law’, a passenger association has decided to step up its ongoing agitation for the restoration of services and facilities that have been curtailed during the pandemic waves. Friends on Rails launched protests at railway stations in Kerala on April 25, highlighting the plight of commuters who had been affected by the suspension of services.
Although the railways restored the number of general cars on some of the express trains after much shouting, the association said it was in no mood to back down as passenger train services were not not yet fully recovered. Members of the association said they would hold dharnas outside the offices of the Divisional Director of Railways in Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram this week.
“Thousands of people, especially daily commuters, depend on the railways to reach their destinations,” said Friends on Rail secretary Lyons J. “And in Kerala, which has no commuter services like in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, thousands of office workers depend on passenger trains and MEMU.The railways had canceled many passenger services and almost all MEMUs.
Authorities were citing a shortage of loco drivers as a reason for not restoring services, Lyons noted. “The fact that the railways did not conduct a recruitment campaign indicates the lack of interest in resuming services,” he said, adding that Kerala had long faced prejudice.
“While the railways are slow to resume passenger services, many rakes are rusting in the yards. As such, the rakes Kerala receives are those rejected by Tamil Nadu,” Lyons alleged.
Members of Friends on Rails said they would also demand restoration of the concession for the elderly and other facilities.