Trains will resume in Punjab only after blockades along tracks are removed: Railways

Updated on Nov 06, 2020 10:40 AM IST

A joint team of state government officials and the director general of the Railway Protection Force was reviewing the situation in the state, said railway board chairman and CEO VK Yadav

Farmers participate in 'Rail Roko' protest over the farm reform bills, at Devi Dass Pura village about 20 km from Amritsar, Punjab, earlier in October.(File photo)
Farmers participate in 'Rail Roko' protest over the farm reform bills, at Devi Dass Pura village about 20 km from Amritsar, Punjab, earlier in October.(File photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAnisha Dutta

The Centre will resume train services in Punjab only when blockades along railway tracks are cleared, railway board chairman and CEO VK Yadav said on Thursday, adding that the state government has assured that all blockades will be removed by Friday.

Till Thursday evening, 14 out of 32 blockades had been removed, Yadav said. A joint team of state government officials and the director general of the Railway Protection Force was reviewing the situation in the state, he said.

“We have been assured by the Punjab government that all blockades will be removed by Friday morning. 14 of 32 blockades have been removed on Thursday. We will resume all train services once the tracks come back in our control,” Yadav said at a press conference.

“We (railway ministry) only have two conditions for the state government; there should be no compromise on safety, and blockades should be removed. Our maintenance teams are ready, as soon as tracks are under rail control, we will run the trains,” he added.

Trains have been suspended in the state since September 24 due to the agitation over farm bills cleared by the Centre during the monsoon session of Parliament.

The state is also facing critical shortage of coal stock across power plants leading to massive power cuts due to the prolonged suspension of goods trains by the railways.

Amid tussle between the Centre and the state government over allowing the passage of trains in the state, the Indian Railways has claimed losses of nearly Rs1,200 crore in freight revenue with more than 2,225 goods trains suspended and 1,350 passenger trains cancelled or diverted.

According to railways’ data, nearly 70 trains are affected per day, in total 1,373 passenger trains have had to be cancelled or diverted, leading to losses of Rs45 crore.

Earlier in the day, railway minister Piyush Goyal met a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs from Punjab seeking his intervention in resuming train services. In a letter to Goyal on behalf of the group, Ashwani Sharma, Punjab state president of the BJP, alleged that the state is literally “under siege” of the state government which is playing politics. HT has reviewed the letter.

According to the Centre, all inward and outward goods transportation, including essential commodities, has adversely been affected in the northern states and Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

“The minister assured [Punjab MPs] that Railways was ready to resume operations of the train service as soon as the state government ensures that it is fully safe to operate/ run the trains and that the tracks are fully cleared. Safety in running of trains is of Paramount importance. He further informed the MPs that officials of Railway Board have been in touch with officials of state government to seek early clearance of tracks and would continue to do the same,” the ministry said in a statement.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, December 09, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals