Venad Express: the leaky cauldron

Leaky compartments welcomed passengers of Venad Express as monsoon set over Kerala.

The situation was such that water would flow into the compartments even you put both the shutters of windows down. Many of the shutters were in damaged condition and some would not even move.

It has been a long-standing complaint of railway passengers that coaches that needed to be condemned or repaired were put on service in Kerala. This not only caused inconvenience to passengers but also increased the chances of accidents.

However, railways is even making a move to abandon the proposed coaching terminal at Nemom for maintenance of coaches. The proposed coach factory in Palakkad is also in limbo. These would have perhaps helped to ensure that Kerala got better coaches.

Travel by Venad Express is an ordeal for even reserved passengers. Regular passengers and even season ticket holders are allowed to enter reserved coaches, practically denying seats and comfortable journey to reserved passengers. The travelling ticket examiner, who is to ensure seating for reserved passengers, would not even turn up. On Sunday (June 3), the D1 coach, which was meant for reserved passengers, was overcrowded from at Kochi onwards. However, the TTE turned up only after the train reached Thiruvalla and took no steps to prevent overcrowding. The compartment was, incidentally, overcrowded when compartments for unreserved passengers were empty at Kottayam. The coach covercarried little indication that it was reserved. The letters D1 was hardly visible. Passengers boarded the compartment as it stopped near main (crowded) areas of the platform.

Food is served in the compartments in containers made of aluminium foil. The lid is made of packaging materials printed for milk packets in Europe. This is either discarded or recycles material. Aluminium can leach into the food in minute quantities. The effects of chronic exposure to aluminium are yet to be established fully. However, the metal is known to affect the brain and is suspected to be one of the causative factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

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