Don’t allot berths now reserved for storage

 I am a senior citizen, who travelled from Udupi to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on  January 28, 2014, by the Matsyagandha Express. I had a confirmed 3-tier a/c ticket booked on December 2, 2013 and had been allotted Berth Number 63 in the B1 coach.

Upon boarding the train at Udupi, I found to my utter dismay that the place meant for Berths  63 and 64 had been converted into a storage box to keep the blankets, pillows etc. I observed from outside my coach (No.96126) that the window had been removed and welded with a neatly painted metal sheet, as though there were no window.

When this is a permanent arrangement, I fail to understand why the Railways issued a ticket to me with the above berth number, when it doesn’t existl!

 Fortunately, the TC concerned was very cooperative and attempted to help me. Unable to find one, he ultimately allotted  Berth No 7, meant for the TCs. I wonder how traveller on Berth No 64  handled the situation. I am afraid this must happen routinely, causing inconvenience to bonafide passengers.

 May I request the Konkan Railway authorities to look into the matter very seriously and take the necessary steps to ensure that these berths in the said coach are not allotted to any one in the future?

—B V Gopinathan

Rude shock for cable customer

As a Tata Sky cable TV customer, I have a complaint. Recently, many popular channels were suddenly disconnected and the message was that the current box did not support these channels and customers had to purchase new set top boxes.

The question that first comes to mind is why certain channels that were available earlier  suddenly withdrawn.  I am a Tata Sky customer because I have great faith in any service or product provided by this brand name.  Such a move has taken me and countless other subscribers by surprise. I would greatly appreciate an explanation in this regard.

—S P Sharma,

TATA SKY Customer No.1000-263179.41

Two years too long to fix lethal gap

The railway minister has said that it would take three years to raise the height of the suburban platforms for lack of funds, estimated to be Rs.60 to 70 crore, which is likely to be released only in phases. Other organisations should come forward and help the railways in this regard, as also the state government, to complete this important task over a period of two years, he says.  It is simply astonishing to hear his casual response to such a serious problem, which has caused death in some cases and debilitating injuries to passengers in others.  It is indeed hard to believe the railways don’t have adequate funds for the task.

There is never this much dithering when it comes to increasing fares. Does the minister have firsthand knowledge of what it is to board a train during rush hour?  We are not even complaining about punctuality of services or other conditions, like the deplorable state of platforms, the crowded overbridges and the general state of chaos that passes for suburban rail travel in Mumbai. Mumbai is sorely missing the likes of a Kejriwal.

—T M Uday Shankar

Mumbai’s ‘lifeline’ taking more lives lately

Commuting by local trains is a nightmare during peak hours, with packed compartments and many commuters often managing to just have a foothold with the rest of their bodies hanging outside and a very tenuous grip to hold them in, dodging light poles besides tracks as they do so. For years, this has been going on and it doesn’t seem like the authorities care.

The stations are in poor shape and the gap between platforms and train footboards so wide that a slight misjudgment, while in a rush, vying with several others to board the train results in a fatal fall on tracks, often resulting in death or worse, injuries for life.The roofs over platforms are non-existent at most stations, which becomes another potential life-threatening issue during the rains. Signal failures are a common occurrence and chains to stop trains in emergency not functioning always and most safety features are only on paper.

 Suburban trains ‘the lifeline of Mumbai,’ seem more like a means of putting lives on the line on most days. And this travel does not come cheap either.

S N Kabra

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