Ahmedabad: As many as 21 railway passenger halts in Western Railway’s Ahmedabad division may soon disappear from the country’s rail map, if the division’s proposal that they be shut down is accepted. These halts were set up more than 20 years back under pressure from local leaders.
Of the 21 halts identified for closure, five — Gora Gumma, Wasna Iyava, Sij Sertha Road, Sobhasan and Gummasan — are on Ahmedabad mainline. The other 16 are on branch lines. They are: Brahmanwada, Chhatral, Wa-Sojinta, Ankhol, Deosana, Kadiyadara, Bhesana Mankanaj, Gelda, Sonipur Rupal, Limbodra, Pilwai Road, Randheja, Makakhad, Unava Vasan, Lodra and Gunja.
The Ahmedabad division has sent a proposal to its zonal headquarters in Mumbai that the halts be shut down as they were causing losses. Sources at the divisional headquarters here said the halts are unable to generate enough revenue to justify their continued existence.
The halts don’t generate much revenue as they are now used only by a handful of passengers. Sources said that, on an average, one train’s stoppage and departure on a meter gauge line costs the Railways Rs300 while, on a broad gauge line, the cost comes to Rs500 per train. The halts identified for closure don’t even generate the money needed for managing the stoppage and departure of trains that pass through them.
"The halts have become a burden for the Railways because they are not used by many people now," said Uday Shankar Jha, senior divisional commercial manager, Ahmedabad division. "We have, therefore, proposed to our zonal headquarters in Mumbai that they be closed." The Sobhasan halt is the biggest earner of the 21 halts but even Sobhasan earns, on an average, just Rs102 a day.
All the 21 passenger halts could be shut down anytime, though the divisional headquarters office in Ahmedabad does not yet know from which date they will be closed. "The proposal has to be accepted first by the Western Railway headquarters in Mumbai and then the railway board in New Delhi," Jha said.