At one end there has been massive preparation to launch work for high speed train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, while at the other end a 93 old meter gauge train service (since 1925) has been uprooted from the rails.
The pair of 52074 and 52073 Passenger train from Marwar Jn to Mavli Jn and back has been withdrawn without any notice and without showing any cause. This is classical example of as to how the railways is constantly ignoring the betterment of Rail service in Rajasthan in general and Mewar belt of Rajasthan in particular.
Before gauge conversion between Ajmer- Udaipur, Chittaurgarh- Ratlam and Marwar Jn- Jodhpur, the city of Udaipur was having direct train link to Jodhpur by a day train. The city of Udaipur has been deprived of this service automatically following gauge conversion.
The presence of trains in this Zone is as old as Railways Act is (Circa 1889). The aforementioned gauge conversion resulted into services reduced between Mavli Jn – Marwar Jn. Now, abruptly the Railways have taken away services of 52074 Pass. (MVJ-MJ) and 52073 Pass (MJ- MVJ) without any reason.
Some national daily suggests that the trains have been withdrawn as there have been a number of unmanned level crossings. However, officially no reason has been cited. Other unconfirmed news suggests that Meter Gauge rails in night having unmanned level crossings are being withdrawn. It may be noted that train No. 52073 is leaving Marwar Jn 0520 hrs arriving at Mavli 1130 hrs, so it is not at all night train.
It is a well known fact that the gauge conversion between Mavli Jn – Bari Sadri has been delayed and the contractor believed to have defaulted. It is not known as to what action has been initiated against erring contractors and officials responsible for this debacle.
Illegal Fare Charging : Train No. 19329 Veer Bhumi Chittor is a day train leaving Indore Jn at 0730 hrs and reaching Udaipur at 1915 hrs. This train ought to have 2nd seating and AC seating arrangements but the same is missing. For travelling in this train one has to buy Sleeper Class ticket and AC Sleeper class Ticket.
This example is matchless. The reason as can be seen is that the same rack of coaches also plies on Indore- Gandhinagar route and thus all reserved class coaches are of sleeper class be 2nd Sleeper or AC sleeper. A wise railway could have converted same coaches in 2nd Seating and AC Seating during their run from Indore to Udaipur City (Train No. 19329). But for years, the railway has been exploiting the passengers by unlawful means by charging Sleeper Class and AC Sleeper class fare.
There is need for North Western Railway to re-store services of train numbers 52073 and 52074 passenger immediately. Unconfirmed sources say that as a matter of policy the railways had withdrawn all Meter Gauge night trains due to unmanned level crossings.
It is seen that all unmanned level crossings are being manned by Railways by deploying guards and in similar fashion, if the crossings are unmanned they may be manned but removal of service is no answer to the problem. It may be appreciated in night time the approach of a given train at level crossing is more noticeable due to lights of the engine and any given sound is more clearly heard at night as compared to day time since other noises are less at night and things are more audible.
Thus, the argument cited by the railways is misplaced. The news of withdrawal of services of 52073 and 52074 passenger trains is more disappointing since railways is working hard to have high speed train on Ahmedabad- Mumbai Section and at the same time a train service, which was in existence pre-independence (since 1925) has been removed as unwarranted. This is also against the slogan of state of SAB KA SAATH SAB KA VIKAS. But unfortunately the Railways are travelling in reverse gear. A concerned railway can change timings of 52074 and make it a day train, as being done during monsoon season.
The railways are well aware that it has a social responsibility too. It should not be accused of withdrawal of a service, which was in force for almost a century. The train is link between Udaipur and Jodhpur. Both the cities are major cities of Rajasthan with plenty of tourist attractions besides rich history.
High Court of Judicature is located at Jodhpur and also it is route for famous pilgrimage of Ramdevra and tour to Ravli-Tatgarh sanctuary. It may be noted that around 15 years ago, the railways had withdrawn the services of 52072 Mavli- Barisadri pair of train but the same was restored with a court order. In short, the railways may not increase services but should not withdraw the available services.
Mahendra K Kothari is Honorary Correspondence , UdaipurTimes