Mangaluru, Apr 19 2019: The Yeshwantpur-Karwar special train (06557) operated to help residents of Bengaluru cast their votes at polling booths in coastal districts received an overwhelming response.
“All 842 tickets (including 625 sleeper class seats), available for reservation on the Yeshwantpur-Karwar-Yeshwantpur special train were booked within seven hours of its announcement,” Southern Railway, Palakkad Division, public relations officer M K Gopinath informed DH when contacted.
South Western Railway (SWR), in coordination with Southern and Konkan Railways Corporation (KRC), had decided to operate a special train between Yeshwantpur and Karwar on April 17 and 18, after receiving a letter on exploring the feasibility of running an “election special train” from the Karnataka state election commission.
Kundapur-based social pressure group Jai Bhargava Balaga had written to the Election Commission seeking an election special train in order to rescue the common man from the grip of ‘bus mafia’ which is fleecing passengers by pricing tickets upwards of Rs 3,000.
The train, delayed by two hours, finally left Yeshwantpur at midnight. The train, initially scheduled to reach Mangalore Junction Railway station on Thursday (8 am), however, reached the station at 9 am. Nearly 90% of the passengers were travelling on the train with an intention to cast their votes.
“I got to know about the special train through the social media,” said Abhishek while joining the queue for the pre-paid autorickshaw counter outside the railway station. Abhishek, serving as operations manager in Reliance, welcomed the initiative and hoped that the special train is regularised.
“The train’s departure at 10 pm is very convenient for working people,” informs Vidya, a homemaker. Vidya is in Bengaluru to attend a wedding programme and will return to Bengaluru on Thursday night after casting her vote in Mangaluru. Raghavendra, serving in Accenture, was informed about the special train by his brother residing in Saligrama in Udupi district.
He had booked the train in order to cast his vote in Saligrama. The two-hour delay in departure did not cause any inconvenience, he said and added that the special gesture from railways and election commission to voters made him ignore all trivial issues like lack of last mile connectivity at Mangalore junction railway station.