The DMK statement calling for an increase in the number of services on the suburban section of Chennai rail will be enthusiastically welcomed by all passengers in Tamil Nadu’s capital city. Few political parties have really grasped the importance of the city’s rail and bus system to meet increasing travel costs and rising fuel prices.
The AIADMK government has indulged in tokenism and blamed the Centre, but failed to live up to its responsibility of ensuring affordable, comfortable travel for the 7 million population in Chennai, as also for residents of other cities and towns in India’s most urbanised State. If the blow of higher travel costs due to fuel was bad enough, the Jayalalithaa government delivered another crippling hit to the commuter in the form of a usurious increase in bus fare.
In this situation, the trains have stood out as a viable option. Yet, there are too few services, especially in the Beach – Velachery MRTS system. During several hours of the day, the frequency drops to one in 30 minutes or one in 20 minutes. The wooden attitude of the Railway towards needs of the MRTS should also be highlighted by the political parties, including the DMK.
At the moment, we can expect little from the Jayalalithaa government in this regard. It has also remained moribund on the question of introducing mini-buses, despite the availability of a report from Anna University. This is without doubt, a non-performing government.