Even as the farmer organisations called off their “rail roko” agitation on Tuesday, it will take at least a week for the railways to restore all train services as per schedule in Punjab. The weeklong agitation by the farmers had paralysed the rail network in Punjab.
Ferozepur divisional railway manager (DRM) Anuj Parkash said an advisory had been issued to all railway employees not to proceed on leave for next one week so that train services could be brought back on track in the region.
Railway officials say the farmers’ stir, being described as the worst-ever protest in the state, has hit more than 500 trains in the Ferozepur division resulting in a loss of crores of rupees to the railways, besides causing inconvenience to passengers. The protest forced the railways to either cancel or divert 469 trains till Monday. Even after the farmers called off the “rail roko” stir, 38 trains were cancelled on Tuesday and 23 stand cancelled for Wednesday.
“Though the law and order is a state subject, we have registered three cases under the Railways Act. We also arrested 70 agitators, but on the request of Punjab officials, we did not arrest more protesters as the matter was too sensitive,” said the DRM.
“We have video recorded the entire agitation and soon more cases would be registered against those farmers who would be found guilty”, claimed DRM. “I will also write to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to ensure that the agitators don’t stop trains in future as it is one of the major public services and causes loss of time and revenue to the nation. If it happens again, we will be compelled to take strict action against the protestors,” added the DRM. “So far, the exact loss cannot be quantified, but it will be in tens of crores,” he added.
The major trains to be cancelled on Monday include the Delhi-Attari Express (14001), Attari-Delhi Express (14002), Attari-Lahore Express (14607), Lahore-Attari Express (14608) and Shan-e-Punjab Express, said the railway officials.
The trains which have been diverted include the Tata Nagar-Jammu Tawi Express, Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi, Amritsar-Haridwar Jan Shatabadi, Amritsar-Mumbai, Delhi-Pathankot, Mumbai CST-Amritsar, Golden Temple Mail, Amritsar-Howrah and Saryu Yamuna Express.
Four farmer leaders booked in Bathinda
For blocking trains on the Rampura Phul rail track, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) registered a case under Sections 145, 146, 147 and 176 of Railway Protection Act against four leaders of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and 800 unidentified farmers. The RPF has registered the case against Shingara Singh Mann of the BKU Ugrahan, Buta Singh Burjgill of the BKU Dakaunda group, Surjit Singh Phul of the BKU Krantikari group and Sewak Singh of the Khet Mazdoor Union by name.
70 farmers held during rail stir
The railways have got three cases registered under various sections of the railways Act at Jalandhar Cantt, Ferozepur, and Nakodar
As many as 70 protesting farmers have been arrested under the Act