Jammu and Kashmir News
By Citizen Journalist Amaya
Jammu’s “world class” railway station is in making from quite a few years now but even till date the passengers, travelers, pilgrims and tourists have the same sob story. Many promises have been made by the Chief Ministers, MLAs and even the Prime Minister but clearly have been forgotten before even reaching the citizen in any manner. Apart from the nation-wide connectivity, the Railway Ministry has nothing else to offer to the millions of tourists and Pilgrims who visit J&K.
Jammu and Kashmir is known to have the largest tourist footfall. Lakhs of pilgrims, devotees, tourists visit the state for Amarnath and Vaishno Devi yatra. Kashmir and Ladakh too are the major Indian tourist hubs, which automatically adds to the annual tourist footfall of J&K. Despite the massive number of people visiting J&K from other parts of India, the only Railway Station in Jammu offers them nothing more than a chaotic and disorderly system.
There is barely any sitting arrangement near the three platforms and whenever the trains are delayed, the tourists are forced to sit right on the entrance floor. Hundreds of visitors can be seen sitting on the over-crowded floor and despite numerous appeals and complaints, no step has been taken by the concerned authorities. Most of the time, the entrance is thronged by passengers who are eating, sleeping, resting on the floor itself and there is barely any space left for others to even move. Apart from this, the station also lacks clean toilets. No attention has ever been paid towards cleanliness in and around the toilets, or even the platforms for that matter. The taps are broken from months, the drains are clogged and the place has a foul stink.
Apart from the crippled infrastructure, there is no security arrangement of any kind near the platforms or even at the entrance. The person in this picture is directly entering along with his bags and nobody is there to question him. One refuses to follow the given rules and there is hardly any check on that. There is no lodging system for thousands of tourists who visit the place from the far corners of India. Either there is no facility and the tourists are denied of being provided any accommodation or they are sent to nearby places like Saraswati Bhawan, which are always full. The booking takes place months ago and there is not even one place for immediate availability.
The careless attitude of the railway employees and officials is another matter that irks the tourists. On an average, over a thousand tourists and pilgrims visit the state every day but one of the most important departments, Enquiry Department, is leaving no effort to dishearten the tourists who visit the state. There are long queues outside the enquiry department but none inside the office. The passengers, travelers and tourists can be seen queued up to empty chairs outside the enquiry window. The staff of the enquiry counter is never found on their seats and the tourists are left with no other option than wandering here and there and enquiring from the tea stall owners or coolies. The passengers wait for hours outside and there is barely any delivery service. Nobody can be consulted in time of confusion regarding the schedule and timing of the train or the route itself.
The Budget session witnessed high talks of making Jammu a smart city and the Railway Station a World Class Railway Station, but so far there is barely any visible change on the ground. The system is rotten as ever and no concerned authority is ready to responsibly spearhead the Mission of Change, which is so crucially required at the moment.