Maoists blow up portion of Howrah-Mumbai rail track in Jharkhand
About a meter of the railway track on the Howrah-Mumbai main line was blown away in Jharkhand early on Monday by suspected Maoists, who gave a call for Bharat Bandh on April 26 in support of farmers protests against the three Central farm laws. The traffic on the section under Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER) in West Singhbhum district was suspended for hours following the blast, said railway officials.
A senior railway official indicated that a goods train passing through the damaged section between Lotapahar and Sonua stations alerted the authorities and reported a “heavy jerk”, which led to at least 8 mail/express/passenger trains being stopped at different stations to prevent any untoward incident.
“On receiving information, all movement in the Rourkela-Chakradharpur section was immediately stopped and 8 mail express/passengers trains and several goods trains were controlled at different stations as security measures,” Manish Kumar Pathak, senior divisional commercial manager (Sr DCM), Chakradharpur division of SER, said Monday morning.
He said patrolling teams accompanied by security personnel were sent to the blast site first and it started investigating the ‘heavy jerk’ reported by the goods train loco driver after arriving at the site.
“During the investigation of the site it was found that the Up main line track was sabotaged. The blasted pieces of the rail were found up to 35 metres from the site. Restoration work started immediately after getting security clearance. Down line was given a fit at 7.15 am, the 3rd line at 8.35 am. Movement over the lines has resumed,” Pathak said. He added that Maoist propaganda material was also recovered from the blast site.
After necessary clearances train movement was restored on the Up line between Sonua -Lotapahar section at 9:35am, also normalising traffic between Chakradharpur and Rourkela section. A junior administrative grade inquiry has been ordered by the DRM.