- Two railway stations in Hubballi Sompur Road and Bannikoppa don’t have regular access to water.
- The staff working at the two villages depend on a train for supply of water, which meets the needs of the personnel and their families staying at the employee quarters.
HUBBALLI: Although modernisation of Railways is among the key agendas in the upcoming Union Budget on February 1, that two stations in remote locations - Sompur Road and Bannikoppa that fall under the Hubballi division of South Western Railways - don't have regular access to water is ironical.
The staff working at Sompur Road and Bannikoppa stations, respectively 86km and 93km from the zonal SWR headquarters in Hubballi, depend on a train for supply of water, which meets the needs of the personnel and their families staying at the employee quarters. Although the passenger trains that supply these stations with water are scheduled to stop here for no more than a minute, they end up prolonging the duration of the stop to five minutes so that the staff can stock up on water.
President of the Karnataka State Railway Development Kutubuddin Kazi said, "SWR is supplying water to its staff at the cost of passengers' time. This indicates that the organisation doesn't have respect for passengers' time. Railways should think of alternative solutions like ferrying water using either a goods train or trollies."
Fakirappa Shivalingappa, 43, son of a railway employee who works in neighbouring Bhanapur village, said that passenger trains were used to supply water to the Harlapur station as well. "SWR continued the practice even after metre gauge was converted to broad gauge in 1994. Since these stations lie in remote locations, neither the Railways nor the local administration bodies have bothered to equip with facilities for regular water supply," he said.
A loco pilot said that train number 51412, Hubballi-Ballari passenger filled up water in a tank at Gadag, which was provided to Sompur station in the morning. "On its return journey, 51411 Ballari-Dharwad passenger fills up water at Hosapete station, and delivers it to Bannikoppa in the evening," he added.
Hiremath, a retired railway employee, said, "A goods train yard has been constructed at the cost of crores of rupees at Bannikoppa, but the department is not making efforts to provide a permanent solution to the water problem at these two stations."
Senior divisional operations manager for railways, Krishnareddy said that water supply was the responsibility of the SWR's engineering department. Affirming that the trains unload water at the two stations within two to three minutes, he added, "This does not impact the timing of the services." Sources in the engineering department said that they dug up a borewell at the two stations. "However, owing to scarcity of water in the surrounding areas, our efforts did not yield the desired result," they said. - Times Of India