DEHRADUN: With the Indian Railways announcing that train services to and from Dehradun railway station will be halted between November 10, 2019, and February 7, 2020, due to renovation work being undertaken at the station, the move is expected to not only inconvenience people but also hit the state’s travel and tourism industry.
“Usually tourists come to the state capital, spend a day or two here, and then go to hill stations like Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and Chakrata. But now, Dehradun is likely to witness a dip in tourist footfall,” said Sandeep Sahni, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Uttarakhand . He added that “halting train movement for such a long period will hit the state’s economy badly.” “We understand that the project will be beneficial for the state in the long-term, but undertaking the project during this time of the year could have been avoided,” Sahni further said.
As part of the closure, some trains have been cancelled while a few like the Dehradun-New Delhi Shatbadi Express will originate and terminate at Haridwar .
Residents meanwhile said that people had already faced a lot of inconvenience when several trains were cancelled last week as they were not informed about the cancellation. They urged the Indian Railways to allow at least a few trains to come to Dehradun.”There are a lot of students as well as elderly people in Dehradun who will be inconvenienced due to the cutting off of train services for three months. The Railways should at least consider running some trains from the station,” said Renee Das, a resident of Rajpur Road.
Local taxi operators also rued the dip in their business. “Now the tourists will hire taxis from Haridwar, as a consequence of which, private transport services in Dehradun are likely to suffer huge revenue loss,” Deep Rawat, a local taxi service company owner, told TOI.
Meanwhile, Sitaram Sonkar, station superintendent at Dehradun railway station, said that the move to close the station will yield dividends later. “After the renovation, big trains with more coaches will also halt at Dehradun. Earlier, trains with more than 10 to 12 coaches couldn’t halt at the station.”
According to the Railways, as many as 18 trains (up and down) will either culminate at Haridwar or return from other railway stations. While Dehradun-New Delhi Shatabdi and Nanda Devi Express will start from and culminate at Haridwar, the Link Express that comes to Dehradun from Prayahraj will terminate at Aligarh. Similarly, trains from Muzaffarpur to Dehradun will halt at (and start from) Najibabad.