Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara : Even after being granted `A’ Grade status and generating revenue next to Patna in Bihar, Ara railway station under Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR), Hajipur, lacks basic amenities. Over 50,000 passengers travel daily in different direction from Ara and generating a revenue of Rs 60 crore per annum but the officials of the railways remain indifferent to the problems facing the passengers.

Ara  MP R K Singh, now a Union Minister, has for the last three years been saying that Ara railway station will get a facelift and two new platforms, a wash pit, a foot over bridge (FOB) and an escalator will be constructed, entire platforms will be covered with shed, purified water facility will be available and other basic facilities will be provided but nothing is visible so far except for work on Foot Overbridge (FOB), the work on which is in progress.

An `A’ Grade railway station should have a neat and clean campus and platforms and all the platforms should be covered, sitting arrangements as per the number of passengers, at least three FOBs in view of length of the platforms, coach indicator board, 5 minute stoppage of all the long distance trains and proper lighting facility.

But, the Ara railway station campus emits foul smell, filth and garbage are seen scattered everywhere, illegal makeshift shops and fuse bulbs not changed for months. Long distance trains stop here only two minute here and it has only two FOB and has no facility of coach indicator board. The touchscreen inquiry system is not available at Ara railway station. At least eight booking counters have been opened but only two to three counters function and passengers face a lot of problems in getting tickets or reservation.

Besides, Station Master Office is running from the Panel Room since May last. Passengers gather here in large number to know the position of trains. Passengers Hare Ram Singh, Aarti Kumari and other said whenever some senior officials visit Ara railway station, the touchscreen inquiry system starts working properly, platforms and campus are cleaned. PRO, Danapur Division, R K Singh, said that the Rail Manual has provision to monitor the facilities to the passengers on regular basis and he would find out why it was not being followed.

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