Railway stations with few passengers may go to private contractors

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Shornur: The decision of the Indian Railways to remove some stops has caused uncertainty over the future of stations in the state that will have no passengers.

The Railways plans to reduce the number of stops to increase operational efficiency. The stops to be removed will be decided on the basis of the revenues and the number of passengers serviced in 2019. Those stops that appear lower on the list will be done away with. In Kerala, about 50 stations will be affected by the Railways’ move in the first phase of the exercise.

If the proposal to rationalise trains and reduce stops is approved, only the major railway stations with high revenue will remain after the reorganisation. 

Stations with few passengers will be converted into intermediate block signal (IBS) stations, which will not be staffed. It will operate through the signal system from the next two stations. This can save the services of up to eight people, including station masters and commercial employees. Private contractors will be given the task of issuing tickets in such stations. 

Recently, Uppala in Kasargod district and Mankara in Palakkad district were handed over to private contractors.

There was a stop for many trains, including the Island Express, at the Bharathapuzha railway station near Shornur. The stop was later removed and the management of the station was handed over to contractors. With no stop for trains, the station was closed as no one was willing to take up the contract when it came up for renewal.

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