Fact Check: Why Did The Maharashtra Bound Train Reach Madhya Pradesh?
Multiple reports have stated that 1494 farmers, who were headed for Maharashtra, were stuck in Banmore station near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh after their train Swabhimani Express, travelled for 160 kilometres in the wrong direction. The farmers were returning to Rajasthan and Maharashtra after attending the Kisan yatra protest rally in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Monday.
The special train was arranged for 1,494 farmers from the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. The farmers had gone to attend a demonstration of the Jantar Mantar, Delhi demanding of debt relief and better support price for their produce.
The train ended up on Central Railway tracks instead of taking the Western Railway Route and reached Banmore station near Gwalior. Mahavir Patil, one of the passengers told the News18, “We left Delhi at 10 PM on Tuesday and woke up at 6 AM the next day to find ourselves at the Banmore station. After Agra, we had to move towards Kota in Rajasthan, but because of serious negligence by the Railways, we are in MP.”
The passengers asked the station master about the bizarre mix-up, he said that he had no clue about how it happened. Angered by the situation, the farmers took to protesting on the tracks and even stopped a goods train. Passenger S Madanaike said, “When we spoke to the driver, he said there was a wrong signal at the Mathura railway station which caused this goof up. It will only reach by Thursday morning.”
Clarification by the authorities
According to a report by the IBTimes, Amit Kumar Saxena, a spokesman for the railway said in a statement, “The stations demanded by the organisers were Karad, Miraj and Manmad in Maharashtra. The train was not headed to Kota in Rajasthan as reported in some sections of the media. These special trains are run through a route which is conveniently available to the railway operation.”
“Earlier, when this train came from Kolhapur to Delhi, it took the Western Railway route namely via Nagda, Kota, Ratlam, Mathura as it was the best route available from the operation point of view at that time. In the return journey, the best route was Mathura, Gwalior, Jhansi, Bhopal, Itarsi. Hence they decided to run this special train from Kolhapur via this Central Railway route. In this case of an isolated special train, the trains keep moving safely through proper messages from one control room to the other control room.”
When The Logical Indian spoke to Dilip Kumar Yadav, Additional Divisional Railway Manager of Agra Railway Station, he said, “This was an entirely operational decision and it, not anyone’s “fault” at all. While planning the route of such special trains that ply from point A to B, we do keep more than one route in mind, whichever route has lesser choking, the train is diverted to that route. The passengers might have felt confused because the train took a different route on the way back. It was not a case of a wrong signal or diversion or even negligence. The passengers were stranded and the train stopped at Banmore because of some path congestion issue. It is not a fault on the Railway’s part. They reached their destinations safely. ”
The Logical Indian Take
This incident happened to the farmers returning from the protest march in Delhi, as they found themselves at an unknown station, a station which was not on their route while reaching Delhi. One can ask why did the train take a different path, why did it choose to travel to Madhya Pradesh instead of taking the route via Kota, which the train took while reaching Delhi from Maharashtra? The answer lies in the clarification given by the railway authorities. It needs to be noted that the Railway authorities say that this is not a case of the wrong signal. It was a special train and it was diverted to the route which has lesser traffic congestion and which was more convenient at that point in time.
Most of us, upon reading the news doing the rounds, have begun criticising the railway authorities for their incompetence in giving the correct signal to the train. But the clarification from the railway authorities now depicts the incident in a different light. The farmers reached their respective destinations in Maharashtra on Thursday.