30 trains affected by 12-hr rail blockade

Stranded passengers at Guwahati station on Monday. Picture by Manash Das

Guwahati: Altogether 30 trains running under the Northeast Frontier Railway, including six connecting the Northeast with other parts of the country, have been affected by the 12-hour rail blockade called by two organisations under the NF Railway’s Katihar division on Monday.

The strike was called by the Jharkhand Disom Party and Adivasi Sengal Abhiyan protesting against two bills: Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Jharkhand Amendment Bill), 2017 and the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act-2017.

Katihar division primarily covers areas under Bihar and Bengal. The blockade began from 6am.

Protesters blocked railway tracks at Adina, Dalkhola, Arariya and Buniyadpur stations. “As a result of the blockade, 30 trains have been controlled, cancelled or regulated,” said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, chief public relations officer of the NF Railway.

The affected trains are 15640 Kamakhya-Puri Express which has been controlled at Suryakamal, 15635 Okha-Guwahati Express at Barsoi, 12517 Calcutta-Guwahati Garibrath Express at Sudhani, 12423 Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani Express at Panjipara, 12346 Guwahati-Howrah Saraighat Express at Aluabari and 13248 Rajendranagar-Kamakhya Capital Express at Katihar.

Sarma said local trains were mostly affected by the protest. He said Katihar divisional authorities were closely monitoring the situation and ensuring that passengers of affected trains have access to drinking water and light refreshments on trains and at stations.

Train services across NF Railway are affected severely because of strikes, rail roko and dharna called by various organisations. Sources said as a result of such obstruction to railway operations, punctuality of trains was affected with ripple effect that continued up to seven to eight days apart from cancellations and short terminations.

Railways also incur heavy losses because of such sudden cancellations. Passengers, including patients, senior citizens and students appearing in various examinations, suffer.

An official document shows that in 2016 there were 61 bandhs, 37 rail roko and 15 dharnas in Assam, 11 bandhs, six rail roko and two dharnain Bihar and two bandhs, 10 rail roko and one dharna in Bengal.

Till October 2017, there were 41 bandhs, 34 rail roko and 12 dharna in Assam, eight bandhs, four rail roko and three dharna in Bihar and five bandhs, 12 rail roko and one dharna in Bengal.

RAJIV KONWAR Telegraph India

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