Kochi: The Kanjiramattom railway station in the district wore a deserted look for nearly a month with no personnel to issue tickets or announce train arrivals after the halt agent, a private party entrusted with management of low-income railway stations, withdrew from contract citing poor revenue generation.
With no other parties evincing interest, the authorities even thought of closing down the station. However, a group of regular train commuters, under the aegis of Kanjiramattom Train Passengers Association (KTPA), stepped in to take up the station management contract.
“The station is functioning normal after a train passengers association came forward as the halt agent; it’s a welcome initiative,” said Dr Rajesh Chandran, senior divisional commercial manager.
“We didn’t want the authorities to close down the railway station at any cost even if it meant one of us has to stay put and manage the station throughout the day,” said KTPA president E.D. Reghunath.
A total of 12 trains, including Kottayam-Nilambur Passenger, currently have stops at the station and mainly cater to local residents going for jobs at Kottayam and Ernakulam.
The earlier contractor had claimed the revenue collection from the station is meager and falls below Rs 100 on certain days. However, the KTPA has embarked on a campaign to increase foot falls to the railway station and thereby increase the revenue.
“We’re taking A-4 size printouts of train departure and arrival timings and distributing the same to government offices, religious places and auto and taxi stands all around here. The daily revenue earning has touched Rs 800 now,” Mr Reghunath said....