Indian Railways trains travelling across India are failing to maintain their time schedules even a month after a fire destroyed a signal system at the Itarsi railway station in Madhya Pradesh.
On June 17, a fire broke out in the Indian Railways route relay interlocking (RRI) cabin at Itarsi, sparking off one of country’s biggest transportation crisis.
Nearly 3,200 trains have been cancelled since June 17, resulting in 50,000 ticket refunds per day, causing massive revenue losses to an already fund-starved state-run Indian Railways network.
Ankit Jain, a passenger, said, “People are facing a lot of problems due to the delay in trains. The biggest issue is that they have not been able to fix the signal system even after a month. It means if such a problem were to arise in another city, India would come to standstill.”
“We have to unnecessarily pay hotel bills, lodging and family face problems and our work gets delayed,” added Ajay Kumar, another passenger.
Defending the work ethic of the Indian Railways, Shailesh Khandelwal, a senior official, said, “It is an unprecedented accident. All the departments of the railway are working round the clock in tandem to restore the system. We are trying to fix this problem as soon as possible so that passengers don’t have to face many problems. I think that it will be restored within three to four days.”
Around 275 Indian Railways trains pass through Itarsi daily to connect north, central and western India.