Railways have extended till June 30 the suspension of night running of trains in the Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway due to Naxal threat, a move that has now stretched for more than a month.
The suspension came into force after the Jnaneshwari Express derailment near Jhargram on May 28. The disaster, which claimed 148 lives, was suspected to have been engineered by the Maoists. "The suspension which was supposed to come to an end tomorrow has been extended till June 30.
During the period, trains between Kharagpur and Tatanagar and Kharagpur and Adra will not operate between 10 pm and 5 am," said a railway official. Both South Eastern as well as East Coast Railway zones have rescheduled and diverted several trains passing through the routes in view of the suspension.
Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahai has said that night operations will resume once Railways is "confident" about the situation in the Kharagpur Division which has seen several Maoist-related incidents.
Sahai said the Railways were doing regular assessment of the prevailing situation in the area in the wake of the train disaster near Jhargram in West Midnapore district of West Bengal and are being provided with intelligence inputs on a daily basis.
The extension comes as the Railways are also gearing up to tackle the two-day bandh called by the Maoist in five districts from June 30. Several measures including train cancellations and putting in speed restrictions on trains passing through the five states will be taken up during the bandh, the official said.