Tirupati: The tall claims of the Union Railway ministry to develop Tirupati railway station into a world class one turned out to be an empty promise. After coming into power, the NDA government made several promises, but no initiative was taken during in these two years.
TTD board Chairman Ch. Krishnamurthy has represented the matter to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu several times, but apart from starting one or two new trains no concrete steps were taken to develop the railway station.
The proposal of world class station came during the UPA-2 regime, when the then railway ministry proposed to develop an alternate station in Tirupati to relieve congestion from the present Tirupati railway station.
For that it has proposed west station near SV University, where TTD also came forward to give enough land for developing new platforms and to make other amenities for the pilgrims.
But, due to political interference on behalf of hoteliers located near Tirupati railway station, who objected to develop an alternate station, which will affects their business, the then railway ministry dropped that proposal.
Later, after NDA came into power again the idea resurfaced, for which TTD administration has given some 2.8 acres of land at nominal rate to the railways and Railway minister Suresh Prabhu also gave assurance to make Tirupati station as world class. But, after seeing the deplorable position at the railway station, hopes are not very bright.
The Tirupati railway station where as many as 50 trains originate has only five platforms, which are not enough to cater to the needs of the passengers rush.
The passengers who arrive at the station are face problems including retiring rooms which are not sufficient for the general public.
Passengers can be seen sitting everywhere on the floor starting from the entrance of the station. There is no food plaza or canteen in the station for the past one year, after the IRCTC closed it down.
Vendors selling mineral water bottles at exorbitant prices as there is no proper check from anywhere. Stray dogs can be seen in dozens on the platforms which creating terror among the passengers.
No drinking water facility is available on the platforms despite an RO plant. Beggars stay on the platforms in large numbers during the nights, and indulge in anti-social activities.
No proper security is being maintained at the station although metal detectors and scanners are available.
There is no parking place and even railway staff who work in the station are forced to park their vehicles in front of the station. IRCTC used to operate an AC dormitory with 150 beds by giving it on rent at the rate of `100 per bed but it was also closed down.
Due to paucity of staff the general counters at the main entrance of the station have also been minimised. The separate ladies counter is not in operation for the past few months.
There is no enquiry counter at the reservation office located opposite to the station, which causes problems to passengers seeking information about reservation.
“The number of existing vacancies which arose due to retirement is one of the causes for shutting down many ticket counters at the station. Tirupati station is over congested due to introduction of large number of trains in the recent days.
About 50 trains originate from Tirupati. To relieve the congestion Railway ministry should develop the West station also. The trains coming from Katpadi, Anantapur and other destinations should be terminated at West station and some more platforms should be constructed there.
The south side entrance of Tirupati station should also be developed for the convenience of people residing in Tiruchanoor, RC Road and other areas,” said K. Sudershan Raju, Secretary, SCR Mazdoor Union, Tirupati branch.