Railways to take another day to restore normalcy
A day after a nationwide shutdown disrupted over 265 train services, Indian Railways on Tuesday said it will take another 24 hours to restore full normalcy even as many diverted trains started reaching their destinations.
"In situations like these, it takes at least a day, if not more, to restore normalcy," a senior official in the railway ministry said Tuesday, after 73 trains were cancelled and 192 others disrupted on account of the day-long shutdown.
"Most trains that were halted before the final destinations started their onward journeys since late last night. We are constantly monitoring the situation," the official told IANS.
"Fortunately, all our employees have reported for work today (Tuesday). That should make it easier for us to clear the bulk of our backlog over the next 24 hours."
Some of the important trains cancelled Monday included Ranchi-Shatabdi Express, Black Diamond Express, Poorva Express, Shantiniketan Express, Asansol Inter-City Express, Toofan Express, Bhagirathi Express, Howrah-Malda Express and Varanasi Express.
Among the trains cancelled, 59 were mails and express services while 14 were passenger carriages. In addition, 174 other trains could not complete their journeys in time, 12 were terminated ahead of final destination and five were diverted or rescheduled.
The operations were mainly affected in east, northeast, east, south-east and north-frontier parts of the country. In other areas of the country, the operations were by and large smooth, officials said.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in Kolkata, spoke about the shutdown but did not spell out what her ministry intended to do to lessen the hardship that tens of thousands of train passengers had to endure.
"This shutdown was nothing more than holiday. We are against the fuel price hike. We are beside the common people," she said in the West Bangal capital.
The Indian Railways - the second largest railroad network under a single management - runs as many as 10,000 passenger trains daily, covering a distance of 64,219 km, to ferry 1.8 million passengers.
The Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were protesting the hike in fuel prices after the federal government ended curbs on petroleum pricing last month and hiked the prices of transport and cooking fuels.
The price of diesel, as a result, went up by Rs 2 a litre, kerosene by Rs 3 a litre, petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs 35 per cylinder.
But Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee ruled out a rollback.