Farmer Protests Causing Heavy Loss To Railways As Agitation Continues At 32 Places In Punjab

by Arun Kumar Das - Nov 4, 2020 02:29 PM +05:30 IST
Farmer Protests Causing Heavy Loss To Railways As Agitation Continues At 32 Places In PunjabPunjab farmers agitate.
Snapshot
  • Indian Railways’ losses mount as farmers continue protesting in 32 locations across Punjab.

With the farmers' agitation still continuing at 32 places on rail premises and tracks across Punjab, train operations remain suspended in the state, causing inconveniences to the people and revenue loss to Indian Railways.

As agitators continued dharna at platforms and near the tracks, more than 2,225 freight rakes carrying vital commodities could not be operated, resulting in heavy losses in goods earnings.

According to the railways, the losses are expected to have crossed Rs 1,200 crore till date. Average loss of loading per day in Punjab is 40 rakes per day.

All passenger trains passing through Punjab have also been adversely impacted. More than 1,350 passenger trains have also been cancelled, diverted or short-terminated causing serious inconvenience to travellers, especially in times of Covid-19.

Train movement was suspended in view of operational and safety considerations. Sporadic blockade continued at various places, especially around Jandiala, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda as per the latest report.

According to the railways, the agitations were continuing at 32 places across the state.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wrote to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on 26 October, seeking assurance about safety of tracks and staff to resume operations.

The railways maintains that the continued blockages in Punjab adversely impacted freight movement and affected availability of vital commodities for farm, industrial and infrastructure sector.

The agitation has adversely affected all inward and outward goods transportation including essential commodities in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Laddakh and Himachal Pradesh.

The railways said a number of freight trains including loaded trains remained stuck for up to 15-20 days.

Many freight customers, after having suffered business losses, are getting diverted to other modes of transportation.

Outward loading too has been affected in Punjab area. Movement of foodgrains, container, automobile, cement, pet coke, fertiliser etc has also taken a hit.

Inward traffic to Punjab has been affected and now container, cement, gypsum, fertiliser, petroleum etc are not able to reach key locations in Punjab.

On 24 September 2020, farmers in Punjab region started blocking railway tracks and stations. From October onwards, all movements had to be suspended as agitation spread all over the state which affected complete train operations in Firozpur Division, partially in Punjab area of Ambala, Delhi and Bikaner Division.

Later, conditional goods train movement was allowed from 22 October 2020 onwards by the agitators. However, two days after freight train movement was resumed, it had to be suspended again due to operational and safety considerations as sporadic blockade continued at various places especially around Amritsar, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo, Firozpur, Moga, Jandiala and Bathinda.

Running of trains is extremely risky if protesters are not in control, said the railways.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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