The misery of railway passengers


Most of the passengers are seen sitting on the cemented floor of the platform as the few benches that are there, are already occupied. All are waiting for their train to show up. Before independence, the railway in the sub-continent was one of the most efficient services, considered to be at par with any of the railways of the developed world.
The Indian Railways, after a short setback, has almost revived its past excellence. It has recovered to the extent that it is now providing its customers a good service besides making profits.
Unfortunately, the Pakistan Railways had a disastrous setback when during the last martial law dispensation a retired general was appointed as railways minister to head the giant public-sector commercial organisation in the name of purging corruption and leading the department back to being a profitable one.
Unfortunately, the self-righteous minister not only turned whatever sanity was left in the largest transport system towards disaster, but also did away with any comfort which was available to passengers earlier.
Earlier, the Pakistan Railways kept well-maintained waiting rooms where passengers could comfortably wait for their trains. Besides, trains used to be almost on schedule those days. These waiting rooms were equipped with comfortable beds, reclining chairs and were attached with dressing rooms and reasonably clean bathrooms. The passengers were served with cold and hot drinks, and if sometimes the train was late due to some unavoidable circumstances even food was served.
I must admit that food and tea served in the waiting rooms those days was no less than a feat. So much concern was shown for the comfort of passengers. Instead of increasing facilities for passengers, the Pakistan Railways minister considered waiting rooms to be an unnecessary financial burden on the organisation and ordered their closure all over the country.
Thus, the passengers were left to rot on the platforms for endless hours without any essential services being provided to them. In fact, they faced all sorts of discomfort, including inclement weather.
I request the authorities concerned to have mercy on the hapless passengers and restore the waiting rooms immediately. Besides, new ones should be constructed so as to lessen the miseries of the commuters who on entering the platform have no secure place to sit and keep their luggage.