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The crowds of Guwahati-bound people lessened at the Bangalore City railway station on Friday, but railway authorities and the police had a different problem on their hands. Most of those leaving the city wanted to do so at night, and they had to be persuaded to board a special train that had been arranged for them in the evening. The first special train left at 4pm. Driven by rumours of impending attacks on Northeastern people, the exodus which was confined to Bangalore on Wednesday and Thursday, spread to other parts of the state with people flocking from Mysore, Mangalore and Kodagu to the station on Friday. Both Wednesday and Thursday witnessed near stampedes on platform No 4 when frantic passengers desperately boarded the... Read more...
trains, pushing their way in through the doors, and even windows to occupy the limited number of berths. Many were content even to have found a space to stand. Matters had become more temperate on Friday. The railway authorities, including volunteers of various social organisations, were seen cajoling the reluctant Guwhati-bound passengers to board the train as early as possible. They were making announcements advising passengers to board the special train since it was the last one for the day. “We had to do this since many of them want to travel by night. However, we managed to convince them to board the train since we are not sure about number of passengers who will gather at the station after nightfall,’ said Anil Kumar Agarwal, divisional manager, South Western Railways (SWR). Agarwal said the railways had sold 4,122 tickets for Guwahati till 4 pm on Friday. “We have operated six special trains in the last three days so far. We are planning to operate one more special train at 10 pm, apart from the regular Guwhati Express at 11.30 pm. We have sold more than 23,000 extra tickets in the last three days,” he said in the afternoon. An announcement was made that there would be no more special trains later at night. However, one more was arranged in between and the second train left at 8pm. Railway officials advised the people to return to their homes and come back on Saturday morning. The station remained crowded and the last special train left at 10pm. Asserting that operating special trains was not a viable proposition for the SWR, it was social responsibility that made the Railways operate the special trains between Bangalore and Guwahati. “Around 3,000 passengers have travelled by each train, out of which a few thousands of passengers might have traveled ticketless,”’ he felt. According to Agarwal, around 6,000 more passengers were expected to leave the city late at night. “Operating more special trains will depend on the sale of tickets,” he said.