Railways flooded with complaints by passengers on Tejas Express debut

Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 07:38 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

While Piyush Goyal skips inauguration, use of old rake results in a number of utilities not functioning.

Some indicators and TV screens did not work. Pics/Rajendra B. Aklekar
Some indicators and TV screens did not work. Pics/Rajendra B. Aklekar

Falling tubelight panels, non-functional indicators and TV screens and coolies stuck inside the train marked the inaugural run of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express. The Railways was flooded with complaints by passengers on Day 1 after using an over year-old rake lying in the yard and not fixing many passenger amenities.

Nevertheless, IRCTC, that operates the train, punctured the planned MNS protest against the 'Gujarati' uniforms of the hostesses onboard the train by giving them Nehru topis on the journey that terminated at Mumbai Central. mid-day was onboard the train on its inaugural run.

Some indicators and TV screens did not work. Pics/Rajendra B. Aklekar

A tubelight panel in the E1 coach fell close to a senior citizen, badly scaring him, and a few coolies found themselves stuck on the train at Vadodara as the doors shut after the train began to move. "I had no idea that the doors close on this train and I came in with some senior citizens' luggage. When I tried to leave, the doors would not open.

Now, I am trapped. I will tell my colleagues to be careful about this train," said coolie Antar Singh. Singh was able to get off only at Surat, the train's next halt 129 km away.

The rail hostesses were given Nehru topis on the journey to Mumbai
The rail hostesses were given Nehru topis on the journey to Mumbai

Senior citizen Santosh Chandra Dubey who got in at Vadodara got a fright when a tubelight cover fell right next to him as the train jerked. "I am a heart patient and such things scare. This should not have happened on the inaugural run," he said.

Another passenger said, "The train journey was nice, but there were a number of small complaints. Many of the TV screens in the expensive Executive Coach were non-functional and the tables behind the trolley too need attention in these two coaches. Also, the Wi-Fi did not function throughout the journey because of some snag."

The 'Gujarati caps' that the MNS had objected to
The 'Gujarati caps' that the MNS had objected to

IRCTC Director (Tourism & Marketing) Rajni Hasija told the media that they had been made aware of all the complaints and that all of them would be attended to promptly. "The train was just standing for two years. It had been readied but there may be some issues. We have told the relevant departments to fix the issues immediately before the return journey," she said. mid-day found that the coach had been manufactured in August 2018.

On the MNS controversy, IRCTC Group General Manager Rahul Himalian said the uniforms of the hostesses would get a touch of Marathi culture and by the time the train reached Mumbai, the caps had been changed.

Coolie Antar Singh, who got stuck on the train at Baroda
Coolie Antar Singh, who got stuck on the train at Baroda

Meanwhile, at Ahmedabad station, as Tejas docked at platform 1 in the morning, trade unions staged a protest outside the station against privatisation, but were whisked away by the police immediately.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who was expected at the inauguration, which had been on the priority list of the Ministry of Railways, skipped the event. While sources alleged that Goyal had skipped it because of the anticipated protests, the railways said the minister was caught up in another event and was getting late.

Tejas Exp debut

11 priests roped in to bless train

Eleven priests were lined up for the inauguration of the train to bless it and protect it from 'bad forces'. "The priests were brought to give blessings on the day of the inauguration so that the train has a long life," an official said. The priests also gave their blessings to the hostesses and staff, followed by a cultural dance at the station.

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