A whopping Rs 3.5 lakh is spent per month to ensure that the passenger train operates on the track twice daily and for the payment of the fur staff.
A Right to Information (RTI) query made by activist Hemanta Panda has revealed that an Odisha railway station that was inaugurated last year, gets hardly two passengers daily.
The Balangir-Bichhupali station inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 15, 2019, makes an earning of only Rs 20 per day.
Replying to the RTI, the Sambalpur Division of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) said, “The Balangir-Bichhupali station daily passenger turnover is two per day, and passenger earning is Rs 20.”
Panda, who is a native of Balangir, had also asked the concerned railway authority to inform the amount expended for the upkeep of the station and the 16.8 km-long track.
Although the ECoR gave out the other details, they refused to answer this. However, according to a Times of India report, a whopping Rs 3.5 lakh is spent per month to ensure that the passenger train operates on the track twice daily and for the payment of the fur staff – a station master, an assistant station master, and two clerks.
Notably, it cost the government Rs 115 crore to build a track for connecting Balangir to Bichhupali. Considering that the Railways’ revenue is far lesser than its spending, many would regard the maintenance of a station such as this one an unnecessary burden on the strained coffers.
However, JP Mishra, the Chief Public Relation Officer of ECoR, is hopeful that the passenger numbers and the revenue would increase greatly once the tracks are extended to Sonepur station by 2021.
Mishra said: “The key is connectivity. People from Bichhupali want to travel to Sambalpur, Titalagarh, and Bhawanipatna which is not possible now. Once the doubling of the railway line between Sonepur and Titlagarh is complete, we can expect many more passengers.”The only catch here is, even if the people of Bichhupali wish for better road connectivity, the village is rather small, with a population of 15 persons only, as per the 2011 census report.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.