Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bidar-Bangalore overnight train may soon be a reality

There might be some light at the end of the tunnel for Bidar residents who have been demanding an overnight train from Bidar to Bangalore for over five decades now.

Officials of the South Central Railway (SCR) have agreed to consider this demand.

A delegation led by Basavaraj Patil Sedam, MP, met the Railway officials recently in this connection.

“We urged the authorities to consider three options: extend the Bangalore-Kacheguda train to Bidar, change the timings of the Nanded-Bangalore Express to make it an overnight train, or introduce a new train,” said B.G. Shetkar, president of the Bidar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who was part of a delegation. “Devi Prasad Pande, general manager of SCR, agreed to consider our request and discuss the issue at the highest levels in the Ministry,” he added.

The delegation impressed upon the officials that an express train would boost tourism and trade in this poverty-stricken district.

“We told them it would also improve governance as more Ministers and IAS officials above the level of secretary would visit Bidar often to conduct inspections and progress review meetings,” Mr. Shetkar said.

The only train that connects this backward district to the State capital takes nearly 18 hours for the journey.

“Civil society groups have been demanding an express train since the reorganisation of States in 1956. But, the pleas have not evoked any response,” said Khaji Arshed Ali, former MLC.

“Railways has always expressed its inability to have Bidar as the starting point for a train to Bangalore, as we don’t have a cleaning and maintenance centre for trains here,” Deputy Commissioner P.C. Jaffer said. “So, we have offered to provide them some land near the new suburban railway station in Khanapur on the outskirts of Bidar for setting up such a centre. Railway officials have agreed to consider this option too,” he added.