Pally railways, angry station masters!


The Railways surprised everyone when it introduced the Integrated Unreserved Ticketing System (IUTS) in 75 small stations across the state without much ado.

The new system enables the travelling public to make travel reservations from smaller railway stations instead of having to trek to large station that may be located miles away.

It is, of course, a blessing for passengers. But station masters (SMs) say it has been pushed through hurriedly without supplementing the staff strength.

The All India Station Masters’ Association (AISMA) zonal leader T. Vinu says the new facility will burden SMs further when they are already overloaded.

“So, we are organising a protest on Tuesday at Thrissur railway station against the railway decision.”
The protest being organised by AISMA is also supported by Dakshin Railway Employees Union, according to him.

Mr Vinu says SMs are responsible for signalling, level-crossing monitoring, besides issuance of ordinary tickets.

“Our priority is monitoring the traffic and signals. If our attention is deviated with additional work, it’ll only backfire since safety comes first. Additional work is bound to affect quality of service leading to customer dissatisfaction” he warned.

The Railway’s public relations officer Mr Khamraj Meena says the computerised facility will help provide a faster service. IUTS facility is now available in Ambalapuzha, Chepadu, Haripad, Mulankunnathukavu, Poonkunnam, Puthukad, Vallathol, Valliyoor and Ollur.

“We are committed to giving quality service to customers. We also want to give our customers maximum comfort. This facility will help them avail of all reservation facilities at the nearest available station,” Mr Khamraj said.

According to him, IUTS also allows rail-users to buy unreserved tickets from the nearest station, which again is a great blessing. “Across the country around 20 million passengers travel daily using unreserved tickets,” he revealed.

The All Kerala Railway Users’ Association has welcomed the new initiative.

“Often we are forced to travel to Ernakulam just to reserve tickets. We should have gone for this improvisation long back since not more than 20 per cent people make use of the railway’s online booking facility,” said Mr K.J. Manvattom Paul of the Association.

He said the new system will reduce tickets being sold in the black. He also said the demand of the station masters should be looked into as “it will only help in strengthening the system.”

Meanwhile the Railways has also introduced passenger reservation system at those areas identified by the MPs.

“Manpower and other operating costs are met from MP fund while we’re responsible for the infrastructure facility,” he disclosed.

The Railways opened the fourth such centre on Monday at Kodungallor while the facility is already available at Trikkakara, Pala and Nedunkandam.

“We also operate this system at Pampa during the season,” the official said.

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