Kendrapara: With Rajya Sabha member from Odisha Ashwini Vaishnaw taking charge as minister of railways, the hope of the residents to get a passenger train to the district has been rekindled.
It was July 24, 2020 when the first goods train had rolled on the newly-laid out Haridaspur-Paradip broad gauge line. The line passes through Kendrapara district. About a year has gone since, but the district is yet to see any passenger train puffing through it.
As of now, the district people are sanguine that their wait for a passenger train will end soon.
“The Haridaspur-Paradip rail line project was proposed in 1996-97 fiscal. Even though, goods train are rolling on it for about a year, no passenger train has run on it. As our Odisha MP Ashwini Vaishnaw has been made railways minister, it exudes hope that the wait for a passenger train will end soon,” observed Umakanta Biswal, a Pattamundai resident.
Echoing the same opinion, Sunil Kumar Gantayat, president, Mahakalpara Youth Group, said around 3,00,000 people had returned from different parts of the nation to the district during the first wave of Covid-19. The plight they faced to reach the district was seen on TV screens. Had the passenger train service been started on Haridaspur-Paradip rail line project, they would not have suffered so much. Even as lakhs of people from this district work in different places, it is a matter of concern that passenger train service is yet to be started in the district,” rued Gantayat.
In the absence of passenger train service, people to go outside of the district by train have to go to either Paradip, Cuttack or Haridaspur railway station, he further said, requesting authorities to take steps for early running of a passenger train.
When asked, PRO, ECoR, Nirakar Das said the preparations necessary for running ofa passenger train have not yet been completed. “Only after a thorough testing of the station and the signal systems, will permission for a passenger train on the track be given,” he added.
As the district still waits for the passenger train service, four persons have been arrested on charge of ticket hacking.
Informing about the hackers, inspector, Railway Protection Force, Paradip, PV Ramanna said Pabitra Das, a resident of Babar area of Mahakalpara block in Kendrapara district who ran a Xerox shop, was arrested on charge of selling railway tickets by hacking railway department’s software.
“Prior to him, Jyotiranjan Sahu, Bikram Mallick and Akram Khan under Pattamundai Aadarsh police limits were arrested on the same charge. The modus operandi of these hackers is to hack Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and bank security to sell Tatkal tickets. It is learnt that Pakistan-origin software is being used for this,” he said.