The SWR stops its parcel services at 24 train stations

South Western Railway (SWR), which has posted its highest-ever gross revenue of $8,071 billion since its inception in 2003.

While it was decided to close seven stations each in Bengaluru and Mysuru divisions, the parcel office at ten stations in Hubballi division will be closed. Six of these are in the Belagavi district alone. The public, particularly business people using the rail parcel service, indicated that the region’s business would be adversely affected if the service were to be discontinued.

According to a circular from Aravinda Herle G, Deputy Commercial Director (Freight Services), SWR, Hubballi, dated June 21, 2023, the responsible authority has approved the closure of the 24 stations for incoming and outgoing parcel traffic. Of the 24 reported stations, 20 are in Karnataka and two stations each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Damodardas Rathi, a businessman from Almatti and a member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC), told TOI that the parcel office in Almatti was closed several months ago after staff there retired.

Vinay Javali, ZRUCC member at the Office of the President of the Karnatak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that rail parcel service is cheaper compared to other modes of transport. In addition, they are shutting down traffic in smaller towns where trucks and other modes of transport are still rare. While the railroad is improving all of its services through progressive initiatives such as railroad electrification, existing services should not be phased out. We are not aware of this development as no ZRUCC meetings have taken place in recent months. We will be speaking to rail officials and expanding our collaboration to maintain this service. The parcel service is not only needed by traders but also by the public,” he added.

Vasant Ladawa, former president of KCCI, pointed out that the rail booking was subcontracted to some companies and suggested that the parcel service will be done in the same way. “It will affect the economy of the state, especially North Karnataka, as SWR will stop parcel services in 10 stations,” he feared.

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