Lack of transport to reach Ratlam station keeps migrants off track

While railways has started a special train service between New Delhi and Mumbai via Ratlam, lack of connectivity options from Indore, Ujjain and Dewas to Ratlam railway station is making it difficult for a large number of people to avail the service. Passengers of neighbouring districts of Ratlam are finding it difficult to reach station.

The train’s arrival and departure time for Ratlam station which is during late night hours is also adding to the woes of passengers. “I want to go to Mumbai, and but there is no permission for people like me to go to Ratlam. What else are we going to do?” said Ramesh Kumar, a native of Mumbai.

Like Ramesh, there are many professionals, students, and even families stuck in Indore, Ujjain and Dewas for the last two months due to extended lockdown. Railways zonal rail user consultative committee (ZRUCC) member Jagmohan Verma said that a large number of people are not able to opt for this special train service due to lack of connectivity with neighbouring districts.

“Either the administration or the railways should make some arrangements to provide connectivity options for migrant population, so that they can avail this special train service,” he said. The fact is also visible with limited number of people boarding the train on both directions apparently due to odd timings.

The train Mumbai Central-New Delhi Special Train (02951) reaches Ratlam at 01:07am, and departs at 01:10am. Similarly, New Delhi-Mumbai Central Special train (02952) reaches Ratlam at 00.40 am, and departs at 00.43 am. A total of 140 passengers boarded and got down from these trains on Wednesday, pointed officials.

Ratlam division railway manager Vineet Gupta said that local transportation has to be managed by passengers only. “Movement of passengers as well as driver of vehicle transporting the passengers to and from the station on basis of confirmed e-tickets. But availability of vehicles has nothing to do with railways,” he said.

Reaching the station at least one and a half hours before scheduled departure time, wearing masks during travel, and bringing own food, blanket and bed sheets from home is prescribed by railways for passengers to avoid risk of infection, he added.