Kochi: The Southern Railways is on a look out for sponsors to build roof covers for parking lots at main stations in the division. Though it had issued a direction to Kudumbashree Mission a year ago to set up temporary roofs at Ernakulam Junction and Town railways stations the latter couldn’t carry out the work due to fund paucity.
“The present earning of Kudumbashree leaves it with no excess amount to be spared. The collection is hardly enough to meet the expenses. Now we’re speaking to possible sponsors who will in-turn allowed to display their ads and logos prominently. The shelters will be built in a manner so as not to affect the aesthetic view of the stations,” said a senior railway official.
Though a noted tea-manufacturing company agreed to sponsor the project, they backed out recently, stalling the works estimated to cost Rs 50, 000.
Meanwhile, the Kudumbashree workers deployed at the Ernakulam South and North railway stations are a worried lot after their wages were cut short all of a sudden.
“I’ve been deployed here for over three years now. But they have suddenly cut the wages by `5000 from this month onwards. The `18, 000 payment is made only to those having over four years of experience,” said a worker on the condition of anonymity.
In Ernakulam South railway station alone, a total of 12 employees are deployed working round in clock in two shifts.
Rly parking slots have no shelter
Take this, the minimum charge for parking of two-wheelers at the parking yard in the eastern side of the Ernakulam Junction railway station is `10, higher than that charged at most of the ‘Pay and Park’ facilities in the city.
Yet, there are no shelter or other basic facilities, leaving the vehicles of commuters exposed to dust and bird droppings. The same is exposed to rains and sunlight with the vehicles getting corroded easily. The parking space provided by the Greater Kochi Development Authority (GCDA) too is inadequate, forcing thousands of people to park their vehicles on the nearby roadside. The haphazard parking is resulting in congestion in near-by narrow road, putting commuters at difficulty.
Similar is the case with parking lots at main entrance of the South station and that at Erna-kulam Town railway stations, managed by Kudumbashree. The parking fees, though, is less than that that of GCDA with minimum charge for two-wheelers at `5 an hour.
“This is the case with most of the railways stations in the region. A major section of daily commuters leave their vehicle at parking lots in the morning before catching trains. When they return by evening, they are disheartened to find their vehicles in a sorry state due to accumulation of dust and bird droppings. Similar is the same with other railway stations like Thrissur. There is road leading to the station is filled with potholes,” rued Joy Joseph, a regular commuter in the Ernakulam-Thrissur sector.