Railways lose Rs 1,200 crore due to farmers’ protest at 32 places

(File/Representational image)

New Delhi (NVI): The Indian Railways has lost a revenue of Rs 1,200 crore from freight due to the farmers protest at 32 locations in several parts of Punjab and Haryana, the Railway Ministry said.

In a official statement, the Ministry of Railways said, “Railways continue to lose revenue as freight operations remain forcibly suspended due tracks blockages in Punjab.”

“Till date more than 2,225 freight rakes could not be operated upon carrying vital commodities. Loss already expected to have crossed Rs 1,200 crore already,” it added.

The ministry said that the agitators have continued dharna at platforms and near railway track. Meanwhile, train movement again suspended due to operational and safety considerations as agitators have suddenly stopped some train movements and sporadic blockade continued at various places like especially around Jandiala, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda.

The statement also read, as per the report at 06:00 hrs today, the farmers agitation was continuing at total 32 places—31 in Northern Railway and one in North Western Railway division.

Earlier on October 26, Minister of Railways Piyush had written to Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh on seeking assurance about safety of tracks and running staff to resume operations.

The statement further said, due to the continued blockages at sections of tracks in Punjab, there has been a major adverse impact on freight movement and hence on availability of vital commodities for farm, industrial and infrastructure sector as well.

All passenger trains passing through the state of Punjab has been adversely impacted too and till date more than 1,350 passenger trains have been cancelled, diverted or short terminated, the ministry said.

“All inward and outward Goods transportation including essential commodities have been affected adversely in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Laddakh and Himachal Pradesh and number of freight trains including loaded trains remained struck as such for periods upto 15-20 days,” it added.

The ministry informed that many freight customers, after having suffered business losses, are getting diverted to other mode of transportation.

The farmers agitation in Punjab started on September 24 blocking railway tracks, stations and from October 1 onwards, all movements had to be suspended as agitation spread all over Punjab which affected complete train operations in Firozpur Division, partially in Punjab area of Ambala , Delhi and Bikaner Division.

Later, the Railways allowed conditional goods train movement was allowed from October 22 onwards.

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, the ministry said.

“Blockages still continue in several sections of tracks and running of trains is extremely risky if protestors are not in control,” it added.

-RJV