Twenty-two-year-old Shubham, who was on his way home to Patna, could not board the Sampark Kranti Express on Friday as chaotic scenes gripped the New Delhi Railway Station. The young man is among countless migrants from Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal who failed to take train home to celebrate Chhath Puja and had to face the batoncharge by the police.
“I was waiting for two hours in the queue. I could not board the train despite being among the first ones in the line,” said Shubham, who also accused the police of lathi charge on passengers.
In view of Chhath Puja, the number of trains to the eastern Indian states was increased, however, lack of preparedness led to overcrowding chaos.
“The ticket I bought at Rs 300 for a seat in the general class coach will now be useless as it will not be refunded. So I will try to board another train without a ticket, and will give a fine to the Ticket Checker,” he said.
“I did not go home for a year and was planning to visit for Chhath. Monday and Tuesday are the final days of Chhath rituals so I need to reach before that,” said Shubham, who works in a refinery in Haryana’s Panipat.
Sanjay Kumar is thinking about a new plan on similar lines after missing the train.
Along with his wife and two brothers, Sanjay came from Ambala with the hope to travel from New Delhi to Begusarai to celebrate the festival with his family back home.
“There are a lot of problems here. We didn’t go home for Diwali because we thought there will be rush and now also the situation is the same. In fact, the police are raining batons on us. We also tried from Ambala but there is no train from there, so we came to Delhi,” he said.
“Since we came to Delhi for work around a decade ago, there has been a single train. The fare has increased but the facilities have not,” he said. “Now I will try the next train, if I fail, then will go back to my friend’s home in Haryana and come back again tomorrow.”
Many passengers told patriot that they tried reservations for a long time but were unable to get. Due to lack of reservation, some passengers bought general ticket and were making a fine slip to TC.
Three friends, who were at the station, claimed that the police were batoncharging “indiscriminately”.
“The government said that they are running new (special) trains but where are those? Even the number of coaches has not been increased,” they said.
However, outside the railway station tents were put up with LED lights for passengers who waiting there.
Northern Railway General Manager Shobhan Chaudhuri had told media that they have made proper arrangements for drinking water, washroom and food, besides installing 22.5 lakh seats additionally.
Railway PRO has not yet responded to Patriot’s queries.