The ongoing agitation by the Jat community in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has crippled rail operations on some major routes around Delhi and the national capital region for the eighth day on Monday.
The routes to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Jalandhar and a host of other towns remained affected when 77 trains had to be cancelled with the announcement of 66 more to be cancelled on Tuesday.
Most of the 70 pairs of special trains that the Northern Railway has planned to roll out to accommodate the annual Holi rush are finding it hard to get routes as the few that are free from agitation are running to capacity after adding the trains diverted from the stir-hit routes.
It has also affected freight operations.
“I don’t know what will happen to the Holi rush. And our operations of carrying coal to the power houses are stretched to limit because more and more routes got affected in the past one week,” Northern Railway general manager SK Budhalakoti said.
Northern Railway helplines in Delhi kept ringing all day with stranded passengers at various parts demanding alternative to their cancelled trains. But officials said chances of augmenting the regular trains in the alternative routes are slim.
The Jat agitators have been demanding 5% quota in government jobs. Various They have been sitting on railway tracks in hundreds to stall traffic movement. They have also threatened to cut essential supplies to Delhi by blocking roads.
The railway administration now fears that if the agitators stall traffic at Bharatpur, then the crucial Delhi-Mumbai route get be affected. Northern Railway has written to the chief secretaries of Haryana and UP to contain the situation.
To provide information to passengers, Northern Railway has provided helpline nos.
011-23369804 and 011-23367724 at New Delhi divisional control, 0522-2234610 and 2234620 at Lucknow, O9760531919 at Moradabad and 0542-2505896 and 2509850 at Varanasi.