The Times of India
Garib Rath likely to be renamed
PATNA: Will former railway minister Lalu Prasad's dream train, Garib Rath, be rechristened? If sources are to be believed, senior railway
officials are holding parleys with railway minister Mamata Banerjee in this connection. The Railway Board will take any decision about it only after getting go ahead from her.
Mamata's silence over the issue of running more Garib Raths, as announced earlier by Lalu, seems to have dropped enough hint that she was not going to announce any more Garib Rath on different routes. Lalu had promised to run Garib Rath on Sitamarhi-Delhi and Darbhanga-Jammu Tawi routes to cater to the needs of the common passengers from Bihar.
A board official, however, denied any such move right now. He said the Garib Rath has cent per cent occupancy rate yielding impressive revenue to the railways.
According to sources, the fully air conditioned Garib Rath, which was introduced on different routes under East Central Railway (ECR), has been generating a record earning for the railways. It was first introduced on the Saharsa-Amritsar route on October 4, 2006, followed by its run on Patna-Delhi, Patna-Kolkata, Jainagar-Delhi via Patna and Bapudham Motihari-Varanasi. However, contrary to its nomenclature, it was mostly elite passengers who benefited from the Garib Rath, sources said.
The Garib Rath, which was introduced with definite objectives, has the capacity to earn about Rs 10 to 14 lakh on each single journey, particularly on the Patna-Delhi route. Lalu, accordingly, introduced more Garib Rath trains on the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Ahmedabad and many other routes.
During his tenure, about 20 odd Garib Rath trains were introduced across the country, sources said.
A journey by this train from Patna to Delhi costs about Rs 578 in AC-3 to a passenger as against Rs 900 by other trains. But, how many poor people (garibs) are travelling by Garib Rath, asked a passenger. He claimed that the Jansadhran Express, which was introduced by Nitish Kumar as the railway minister, is popular among poor passengers.