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Gujjar stir: India Inc lost Rs 70 bn

The 25-day-long agitation has led to losses of above Rs 70 bn to various industries and specifically railways, president of ASSOCHAM Sajjan Jindal said.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 19, 2008 11:13 PM IST

Rajasthan is back on track with the Gujjar leaders calling off their 25-day long agitation. The total loss incurred during this period is Rs 70 billion ($1.75 billion), according to an industry body.

"The 25-day-long agitation has led to losses of above Rs 70 billion to various industries and specifically railways," Sajjan Jindal, president of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), told IANS.

"The major blows fell on the railways and tourism industry. Also, the disruption of railway freight traffic caused production delays in many parts of the country," Jindal said.

"The figures do not include the losses of property and damages done to railway tracks," he added.

Though the railways have not come up with any loss figure so far, sources said the Gujjar agitation resulted in a loss of about Rs.500 million to it due to cancellation of tickets alone.

The Delhi-Mumbai trunk route was the worst affected owing to the blockades in Rajasthan. Both western and northern railways have suffered huge losses.

"More than 1,000 trains were either cancelled or diverted or terminated before their destinations during this period," an official said.

According to North-Western Railways (NWR), 50,000 passengers and goods worth Rs.120 million were stranded due to the agitation.

The NWR suffered about Rs 375 million loss.

"The freight corridor between Mumbai and Delhi via Rajasthan was the worst affected due to the blockade, and the movement of container trains dropped to less then 50 percent between Jaipur and Delhi," the official added.

Now normal rail traffic will be restored in a day or two.

Mudit Mittal, spokesperson of West Central Railway, said: "We have already opened many lines and the lines passing the worst affected areas will be opened after 18-20 hours. The repair work of the track has already started.

"However, for some time we will put speed restriction of 20 km per hour for the trains in the affected areas.

"A team from railways will go for inspection and will repair the broken tracks. Then only the complete railway services will be restored. The process will take one or two days," said a senior railway ministry official.

He added that the damages caused to the railways will be calculated only after an inspection.

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