The agitation by the Gujjar community in Rajasthan has disrupted rail traffic to and from Mumbai to north India.
The Western Railway (WR) has diverted long-distance trains to avoid routes in and around Delhi where protestors have blocked railway tracks.
On Tuesday, the WR diverted 14 main line trains, rescheduled three trains and terminated two trains before their destinations going towards the affected region. “We are forced to take another route which is 400-km longer than the normal route to Delhi and beyond,” said a senior WR official.
Trains are now taking a detour from Nagda near Ujjain, Maksi near Gwalior, Kota and Bhopal and then heading for Delhi and other northern cities. The trains will take these alternative routes depending on the situation. “There are optional routes the trains can take so there is no need to cancel trains. We would rather short-terminate trains than cancel,” another WR official said.
Most of the trains, barring the Rajdhani Express and August Kranti Express that directly connect to Delhi, are leaving Mumbai on time. Trains arriving in Mumbai are eight to 10 hours late. Officials maintaining these long-distance trains are also on an overdrive trying to make engines and clean coaches available quickly. All main line trains departing from Mumbai until the afternoon of December 22, will leave at their scheduled time, except the 9023 Mumbai Central-Firozpur Janta Express, which will leave at 2.20pm.
The Gujjars launched an agitation in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district on Monday to press for their demand for reservation for the community even as the Gehlot government stated that it would try to solve the issue through talks.