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Round-the-clock Rly station to impact public’s pockets: Dimapur traders

Dimapur Rly yard
The goods yard at Dimapur Railway Station

DIMAPUR, APRIL 9: The brisk nation-wide push for round-the-clock working at railway stations in order to expedite release of rakes has further pushed the Dimapur-based traders into more troubled waters. These traders are already operating with minimum to no facilities at the Dimapur Railway Station, and including the station in the ever-growing list of stations to operate 24×7, is set to have a domino effect that might ultimately impact the pockets of the general public.
A few traders on Saturday sat down with KK Sharma, Senior Divisional Operation Manager (DOM), Lumding, NF Railway Office, who was in Nagaland regarding commencement of loading and unloading operations at Shokhuvi goods terminal, and reasoned with the official that making the station work round-the-clock would mean that the traders need to unload their respective consignments even in the middle of the night which is simply not possible in Dimapur because of the non-existence of even basic facilities such as lights, a shed and even toilets where the goods are unloaded besides the factor that the space is not secured and there is always a lingering security threat, particularly at night hence labourers and vehicles cannot be availed.
It may be mentioned that earlier the window to unload the consignments was from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. As per the rule, a trader must empty the rakes during the free window soon after they reach the station or face a demurrage charge of Rs 180 per consignment per hour. Recently, the rule was changed and a progressive penal demurrage charge was introduced according to which if a trader fails to empty the rakes 3 hours after the free window, they would be charged 3 times the earlier demurrage charge and if it goes beyond 4 hours, the charge would be 6 times the earlier charge.
According to the traders, if the consignments reach in the middle of the night, because the station has been made operational 24×7, they need to empty the rakes during the night itself to avoid demurrage, which is not possible, and they are compelled to keep the rakes occupied till morning, which, coupled with the progressive penal demurrage charge would increase the cost exponentially and ultimately result in increased price of basic commodities.
Sharma, however, maintained that progressive penal demurrage charge was a temporary arrangement and has been discontinued.
The traders reasoned that it can be introduced again anytime and appealed to the DOM to bring back the old system of operational timings of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. as the station lacks even the basic infrastructure needed to make it operational 24×7 in the first place.
Sharma said that rolling back to the old system is very unlikely as the Government wants to make all stations operational 24×7 but suggested that they reach out to the higher authority making Dimapur as a special case, as well as assured improved facilities at the railway station.
He also mentioned during the interaction that in the days to come the Sukhovi Railway Station would be used for most of such operations once the environment is created which is difficult at Dimapur Railway Station because of space. According to him, the Sukhovi station has been designed keeping in mind such operations and it has enough space to build infrastructure.
(Page News Service)