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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

South Eastern railway project stuck on blame game

JAMSHEDPUR: The South Eastern Railway's ambitious project of railway ticket booking from post office in the Chakradharpur division has been hanging in the balance in spite of the agreement reached upon eight months ago.

Both the central government organizations are playing blame game accusing each other of a lethargic approach towards the effective implementation of the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) at the identified post offices in Kolhan division.

"I have been taking up this matter personally with the divisional railway authorities in Chakradharpur, but all I have got every time is an ambiguous response," said N Sarkar, head, Kolhan postal division.

In an attempt to check the rush at booking counters in Tatanagar railway station and to make railway tickets more accessible, SER tied up with the Kolhan postal division to provide the booking facilities in 18 identified post offices of Seraikela-Kharswan, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts in Kolhan in September 2012.

The General Post Office at Bistupur, post offices at Agrico, Golmuri, Jugsalai, Sakchi, Burmamines, Indranagar, Telco, Baharagora, Ghatshila, Chaibasa, Chakulia, Jhinkpani and Seraikela, are among some of the approved post offices.

It was assumed at the time of agreement that the ground work would resume in 90 days. Eight months have passed since then, but there's been no progress so far. "We are anxiously waiting for the postal department to come forward with a requisite response," said A N Biswas, senior commercial divisional manager of Chakradharpur.

Sources in the railways have confirmed that although the ground work for the PRS project did start on time, but it was subsequently grounded for undisclosed reasons.

"Now, the matter is between the railway headquarters in Garden Reach (Kolkata) and the Railway Bhavan (railway ministry). We need to wait and see when the software and hardware implementation work will resume," said a railway officer posted at the headquarters.

Suresh Sonthalia, a senior member of the Zonal Railway Users' Consultative Committee (ZRUCC), said he would raise take up the matter again with the general manager during a meeting slated in Kolkata later this month.

"We were told that work will resume in three to four moths time. I am amazed that work is yet to take off," said Sonthalia who being a member of the advisory board of the post and telegraph department was actively involved in the successful inking of the deal between railways and postal department.
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