Concerned over the increasing trend of protests on rail tracks, Ferozepur divisional railway manager (DRM) Anuj Prakash has written to Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal to stop agitators from blocking the rail traffic in public interest.
Talking to HT, the DRM said: "Trains are being used as a tool by various political parties and organisations to express their resentment against the government. The protesters don't realise that it is the common man, including patients, elderly, children and women, who suffer due to the blockade. Halting a train for a few minutes throws the entire rail schedule out of gear and its takes a lot of time and effort to restore the same."
He said 25 trains were stopped between 11.10am and 1.45pm at 14 places in Punjab during a protest by the Congress on Saturday. Eight goods trains were also affected, he added.
On April 27, timings of 150 trains were affected in the Ferozepur division following a protest by the Bhartiya Kisan Union and schedule of six trains was disturbed on April 28 on Amritsar-Jalandhar track, said the DRM.
Replying to a question on action against the protestors, the DRM said the railway police had video footage of protesters and a first information report (FIR) would be lodged against them. "It's a crime to stop trains under Section 174 (obstruction during the running of train) of Railways Act. Action will be taken against those found guilty, including legislators and members of Parliament."
Ludhiana MP Ravneet Bittu and Congress MLAs halted the Shatabdi Express near Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib in Ludhiana on Saturday.