Haryana was formed in 1966 and since then the Indian Railways has consistently given Haryana the step motherly treatment. Over the years, successive governments have failed to convince the Indian Railways and the Central Government to invest and develop the railway network in Haryana.
In all these years, Haryana has a network of only 1553 kms of railway line running through it with only 170 stations, including small and medium sized ones.
Indifference from the state government
Haryana has been a story of total negligence by successive Chief Ministers who have failed to give due focus and attention to developing the rail network in Haryana that would have catalyzed the development of the state. Despite wielding significant political influence in central politics, the state has been unable to pressurise the Central Government to allocate more resources to Haryana.
In this, the present Chief Minister has to take major responsibility for this situation as he has now been in power for almost a decade. It seems that all his efforts have been concentrated in building colonies with private developers rather than develop the railways, which would have improved the economy while creating jobs for the common man in the state.
In several budgets passed by the Railway Ministry, there have been promises of new railway lines but these have remained mostly promises, with very little done towards improving the network or adding more trains. In fact, in the 80s, the then Chief Minister Bansi Lal had almost convinced the Central Government to allocate the planned Rail Coach factory to be located in Haryana but unfortunately that was not to be, as the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi decided to allocate the Rail Coach Factory to Kapurthala in Punjab, which was a result of the peace negotiations between Rajiv Gandhi and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. Had Haryana got this factory, it would have made a big difference to the local economy as has happened in the case of Kapurthala, due to which other small scale units have also come up in the state.
The story gets repeated through various Chief Ministers of Haryana. No one has been able to influence the Railways to give due priority to the state.
Today, there are over three dozen trains that include superfast and express trains, which run through the state to various other destinations. While they make brief halts at various stations in Haryana, the locals are mostly denied the opportunity to board these trains as they are invariably fully booked by the time they arrive into Haryana. So despite the trains running through the state, the reality is that the local people are being denied the opportunity to use the railways.
There is a long standing demand of the local people to enhance the number of coaches, dedicated to Haryana, on these trains, but there have been little action taken by the railways. For instance, the Delhi-Bhatinda train that runs via Rohtak-Bhiwani, is overly crowded and the local people including farmers, find it very difficult to board the train.
People have been making several representations with the state government to get the railways to add more coaches with dedicated quota for Haryana, but the state government has been sitting on these requests and no action has been taken. This is a result of a total lack of concern on part of the Hooda administration.
There has been very little activity undertaken by the railways towards setting up of new track lines or undertake track overhaul in the state, though in many railway budgets the same was promised. For example, the Hisar-Agroha line and the Bhiwani-Loharu lines have been planned but still remain on paper. Similarly, in 2006, a new train between Bhiwani and Haridwar was announced with much fanfare but here again, it has remained on paper.
What has the Hooda administration done in these 10 years to push the centre to implement these projects?
The step motherly treatment meted out to Haryana can also be seen by the fact that other than the Delhi-Faridabad and Delhi Kalka sections, most other lines running through Haryana are not even electrified. This is the reason most trains running in Haryana run at low speeds when various stations in the state could be covered much quicker, had the lines been electrified. This could have easily been done had our Chief Minister shown some interest.
Take the example of the Ekta Express. This train is made to stop at Panipat for an hour, while going up to Kalka and down to Bhiwani, since it has to wait for the Himalayan Queen, which runs between Delhi's Sarai Rohilla and Kalka, to arrive and this train then gets attached to the Himalayan Queen.
This action forces local passengers from places like Rohtak, Gohana and Bhiwani to waste a lot of time waiting at Panipat. This has been a long pending demand of the people to make the Ekta Express an independent train but here again, thanks to our government's indifference, the Ekta Express continues to operate as usual with a one hour unnecessary stop at Panipat.
People at risk
Safety of passengers is paramount and must be the top priority for any government. But it's not so with this government. There is virtually no security on trains due to non-availability of railway security personnel on trains and at stations in Haryana. The GRP is so understaffed as a result of which there have been frequent cases of snatching, eve teasing and molestation on trains.
Take the case of Jind-Rohtak (58 kms) and Jind-Panipat (80 kms) lines. There is only one GRP post at Jind and they are grossly understaffed. Between the stations mentioned, there are several smaller stations where the trains stop. There are no GRP personnel in any of these stations or on trains to prevent any crime. Should it occur, the nearest GRP post is about an hour away. The people, especially women and children, are very vulnerable to harassment from anti-social elements and they have no one to come to their rescue.
Why has the Chief Minister done nothing about these issues till date? Is it that he doesn't know about these problems or is it that he doesn't really care? How long will people that voted you in, suffer before you take any action? In any case, the people have suffered enough and now it is time for change. You have had your chance.
The people are now ready for a Nayi Soch and will now join hands to make a Naya Haryana.