The Rani Chennamma Express carrying more than 3,000 aspirants from Belagavi and Dharwad districts to the District Armed Reserve (DAR) exam was on its way to Bangalore, when it encountered a technical snag around 10 PM near Hubbali and reached the Bangalore City Junction (SBC) at 3:30 PM, the next day. The train was scheduled to reach the SBC junction at 6:45 AM. The exam was slotted for 10:30 AM.
CM Kumaraswamy saves the day
The 3,000 plus candidates were given a respite after the Chief Minister of the State HD Kumaraswamy intervened and announced re-examination for the affected students. He tweeted, “As the Rani Chennamma Express arrived late in Bangalore, I will ensure re-examination of those who did not write the DAR examination. I will also allow Hubli test centre to conduct it. I will also talk to railway officials to avoid incidents like this.”
CM of Karnataka
ರಾಣಿ ಚೆನ್ನಮ್ಮ ಎಕ್ಸ್ಪ್ರೆಸ್ ರೈಲು ತಡವಾಗಿ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ತಲುಪಿದ ಕಾರಣ ಪೊಲೀಸ್ ಡಿಎಆರ್ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಬರೆಯಲು ಆಗದವರಿಗೆ ಮರುಪರೀಕ್ಷೆಗೆ ಅನುವು ಮಾಡಿಕೊಡುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಹುಬ್ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಪರೀಕ್ಷಾ ಕೇಂದ್ರಕ್ಕೂ ಅವಕಾಶ ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿ ಘಟನೆಗಳಾಗದಂತೆ ನಿಗಾ ವಹಿಸಲು ರೈಲ್ವೆ ಸಚಿವರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನಾನು ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ.
12:29 PM – Aug 5, 2018
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Furthermore, the Hubbali-Dharwad Commissioner of Police MN Nagaraj released a statement which informed the aspirants to submit their train and hall tickets to the police for verification, in order for them to re-conduct the examination.
The train journey
The train which started from Kolhapur on 4th August at 14:05 PM was to reach the SBC station on 5th early morning at 6:45 AM. However, the train stopped at Kambarganvi station which is approximately 26 km from Dharwad, around 10 PM, as reported by The New Indian Express.
The halt was due to the failure of one of the two engines of a goods train, which was transporting coal from Goa to Jindal South West. The railway line in that course is single, hence the Rani Chennamma Express had to stop at the railroad station.
South Western Railway (SWR) Divisional Regional Manager Rajesh Mohan and Central Public Relations Officer E.Vijaya talked to media and elaborated on the incident. They said that the railway officials used the locomotive of Rani Chennamma Express in an attempt to clear the track, however, the locomotive could not take the weight of the goods train beyond 2 km and had to be stopped.
Next, another goods locomotive was dispatched and the track was cleared. It was 1:08 AM by the time the engine returned to the Rani Chennamma Express stationed at Kambarganvi station, they told. After this, the passengers (mainly the aspirants) started protesting and this caused a further delay as they stopped the train from moving. The agitation ended at 3:20 AM when the Railway Protection Force (RPF) arrived at the scene and dispersed the protestors. The train finally moved at 3:55 AM under the supervision of the RPF, however, it was continuously stopped several times due to chain pulling by some aggrieved passengers. The train reached Hubbali at 6:30 AM which it was scheduled to reach at 10:30 PM. The candidates protested at the Hubballi station as well.
Additionally, the railway officials said the delay was only by one-and-a-half hours, and they could have reached Bangalore by 8:30 AM, but for the protestors who did not allow the train to depart. The agitation made them lose about 3 hours, they said. Lastly, they informed that a departmental inquiry had been ordered for the mishap and as a special case, they would not be filing any case against the protestors.
E Vijaya, Deputy General Manager, SWR, said, “Usually we will book cases against people, who stall train services. In this case, candidates have acted vibrantly with the fear of losing their exam. Seeing this humanity angle, we are not lodging any cases against them,” as reported by the Times Of India.
A different angle
Deepak Kasture, one of the candidates told the New Indian Express, “Initially, what we thought the train stopped for the crossing of another train… but later we found that the locomotive itself was detached from the coaches. We tried to contact the railway officials… some officers came to the spot and behaved arrogantly with passengers.”
Some aspirants have alleged that the exam would not have been re-conducted if they had not resorted to a protest.