Editor’s Note: This article is based on a Deccan Herald report which has been taken down from its website, without any clarification till now. The article will be updated if there is any new information.
In a baffling incident, a Shramik Special train heading from Surat in Gujarat to Chhapra in Bihar strayed way off its intended route and ended up in Bengaluru, according to a media report.
Deccan Herald reported that the train left from Surat on 16 May and was scheduled to reach Chhapra in north Bihar on 18 May. However, sources told the newspaper that the train veered off the correct track at Maharashtra’s Bhusaval, and instead of going northwards towards Prayagraj and then onwards to Chhapra, went southwards to Bengaluru.
The newspaper reported that due to the (rather long) diversion, the train took a total of nine days to reach its intended destination, and only reached Chhapra on 25 May.
Several people on Twitter expressed astonishment at the scale of the mix-up with several of them criticising the administrative “incompetence” that led to the incident.
“Shramik special train leaves Gujarat for Bihar but reaches Karnataka”
You can’t make this up. This is the height of incompetence. A 16 year old would do a better job running this country than the people currently running this country. https://t.co/Fa95FFwUJ2
— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) May 26, 2020
Modi regime playing cruel joke with the life of India’s millions of poor migrant worker! https://t.co/HKwm5aw1AZ
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) May 26, 2020
You have made fun of Indian Railways at International level 😂😂 @PiyushGoyal
— Amod Sirsikar 🇮🇳 (@withAmod) May 26, 2020
Some users even said that Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal should resign due to confusion over trains not reaching their scheduled destinations—
Only incompetent & powerful men can lose 40 f**$% trains in a day & still gets to keep their jobs.
— Vidya (@VidyaKrishnan) May 26, 2020
Any other civilized country,Railway mins would have been dragged in court and Piyush Goyal would have been forced to resign.
— Aijaz Ahmad (@AijazAh62574862) May 26, 2020
There have been previous instances as well of Shramik Special trains taking unexpected routes to reach their intended destinations. On 21 May, hundreds of migrant workers had boarded a special train from Vasai Road in Maharashtra for Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and were baffled when it arrived at Rourkela.
However, railway officials had claimed that it was a planned diversion due to traffic congestion.
“There is no question of the train losing its way or its driver forgetting the route. We were very much aware that it is going to pass through Rourkela station. During its halt, the train received water and other necessary things before proceeding towards its destination,” Rourkela Station Manager Abhay Mishra told PTI.
The Press Information Bureau also claimed the same in a statement —
Claim: 40 trains lost their way#PIBFactcheck: 80% of Shramik Trains go to UP & Bihar, causing congestion. Trains are diverted not lost & are taking new pre-determined route to reach destinations as per usual practice followed in regular operations
Watch: https://t.co/59DyH80ZGk pic.twitter.com/0URO9sJvg2
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) May 26, 2020
On 15 May, several passengers were left hassled in West Bengal due to an apparent communication gap between two divisions of the Railways about the final destination of a Shramik Special train. According to The Telegraph, officials from the South Western Railway had information that the train was travelling to Purulia and tickets were given to passengers accordingly. However, the train did not stop at Purulia and Eastern Railway officials said that the train’s destination was New Jalpaiguri.
Rajasthan Patrika also reported that a train left Mumbai’s Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on 21 May, but reached Purulia. In yet another instance, a train travelling from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh’s Basti reportedly reached Ghaziabad.
With inputs from PTI