Farmers’ Stir Causes Heavy Loss To Railways As Agitation Continues At 32 Places In Punjab

New Delhi, Nov 4: With the farmers’ agitation still continuing at 32 places on rail premises and tracks across Punjab, train operations remain forcefully suspended in the state causing inconveniences to the people and revenue loss to Indian Railways.

As agitators have continued dharna at platforms and near tracks, more than 2225 freight rakes could not be operated upon carrying vital commodities resulting in heavy losses in goods earnings.

According to railways, loss already expected to have crossed Rs 1200 cr till date. Average Loss of loading per day in Punjab is 40 rakes per day.

Besides, more than 1350 passenger trains have also been forced to be cancelled, diverted or short terminated causing serious inconvenience to travellers in Covid times.

As the dharna and blockade has continued at rail premises, train movement again suspended due to operational and safety considerations since as agitators have suddenly stopped some train movements and sporadic blockade continued at various places like especially around Jandiala, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda as per the latest report till morning today.

According to railways, the agitation was continuing at total 32 places across the state.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had written to Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh on October 26, 2020 seeking assurance about safety of tracks and running staff to resume operations.

Railways maintain that sue to the continued blockages at sections of tracks in Punjab, there has been a major adverse impact on Freight movement and hence on availability of vital commodities for farm, industrial and infrastructure sector as well.

All passenger trains passing through the state of Punjab has been adversely impacted too. Till date more than 1350 passenger trains have been cancelled, diverted or short terminated. This has caused tremendous inconvenience to travellers in Covid times.

The agitation has affected all inward and outward goods transportation including essential commodities adversely in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

Railways said a number of freight trains including loaded trains remained struck as such for periods upto 15-20 days.

Many freight customers, after having suffered business losses, are getting diverted to other mode of transportation.

Outward Loading too has been affected from Punjab Area. Movement of foodgrains, container, automobile, cement, Pet coke, fertilizer etc.has taken a hit.

Inward Traffic to Punjab has been affected and now container, cement, gypsum, fertilizer, petroleum etc. are not being able to reach to key locations in Punjab.

On September 24, 2020, farmers in Punjab region started blocking railway tracks and stations. From October onwards, all movements had to be suspended as agitation spread all over Punjab which affected complete train operations in Firozpur Division, partially in Punjab area of Ambala, Delhi and Bikaner Division.

Later on, conditional goods train movement was allowed from October 22, 2020 onwards by the agitators. However, two days after freight train movement was resumed, it had to be suspended again due to operational and safety considerations as sporadic blockade continued at various places especially around Amritsar, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo , Firozpur, Moga, Jandiala, and Bathinda.

Railways maintain that blockages still continue in several sections of tracks. Running of trains is extremely risky if protestors are not in control.