As India-Pak relations remain off track, Samjhauta Express sees passenger decline
The decline was maximum in two specific months. In June last year, 404 people from India went to Pakistan aboard the Express.punjab Updated: Nov 05, 2017 10:00 IST
There has been a sharp decline in train passengers between India and Pakistan over the last year, apparently owing to increased conflicts. Railway stats says that more than 13,000 passengers from Pakistan came to India in the last one year, but only 4,000 went from here to the neighbouring country on the Samjhauta Express. Both these numbers are siginificantly lower than those in corresponding periods last year.
The escalation began from the Uri attack in September last year after which the army launched surgical strikes across the LoC.
For instance, in May-June this year, there was a decline of 97% as compared to the same time last year. Overall, in the six months of April to September, the number declined by 52% as compared to last year. Data of the Attari station in Amritsar district procured from the divisional railway authorities shows that in April-September this year, passengers from India to Pakistan were 1,064. This is a decline of 1,177 passengers from the same period last year. From Pakistan, 3,667 persons came to India on this train in this six-month period this year as compared to 7,681 last year.
The decline was maximum in two specific months. In June last year, 404 people from India went to Pakistan aboard the Express. This dropped to just 12 this year, by 97%. From Pakistan the same month last year, 886 people came to India, but this dropped by 54% to 410 this June. In August 2016, as many as 151 passengers travelled from India to Pakistan and 1243 made a journey from Pakistan to India and in comparison 38 passengers commuted from India to Pakistan and 442 vice versa in August 2017.
The June may be attributed to the May 31 incident when Indian Army eliminated a Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) of five soldiers along the Line of Control in the Muzaffarabad sector. On June 3, Pakistan Army claimed to have killed Indian soldiers and destroyed Indian bunkers in Tatta Patni sector. The continuous cross-border firing from June to September led to deaths of civilians and soldiers on both sides.
The escalation began from the Uri attack in September last year after which the army launched surgical strikes across the LoC. Rajneesh Srivastava, divisional commercial manager (DCM), Ferozepur, for Northern Railways, said, “It has been observed that whenever the conflict takes place on the border, the number of cross-border passengers comes down.”
The data also shows that there are more passengers travelling from Pakistan as compared to those going from India. In the six months from April to September, 71% more people came to India from Pakistan than those who went to that country.