Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Financial loss to Rlys touches Rs 200 cr | Import-export, tourism, goods transportation hit

29 trains cancelled on Sunday
Protesting farmers continued to block rail traffic at Mansa, Rampura, Shergarh, Pathrala (Bathinda), Dagru (Moga), Mucchal (Amritsar) due to which Ludhiana-Ferozepur, Ludhiana-Amritsar, Bathinda-Ambala and Ambala-Ferozepur routes were hit
The trains cancelled on Sunday included Nangaldam-Amritsar Express, New Delhi-Amritsar Intercity, New Delhi-Jalandhar Intercity, Dehradun-Amritsar Express, Chandigarh-Amritsar Intercity, Shan-e-Punjab, Ferozepur Cantt-Delhi Sarai, Amritsar-Gorakhpur Express and some passenger trains, including Ludhiana-Ferozepur
In 2014, the Ferozepur railway division, which generates annual revenue of Rs 3,800 cr, had recorded a profit of around Rs 2,000 crore, which is likely to take a severe dent this year
Farmer ends life
Bathinda: In yet another case of farmer suicide, Jagdev Singh (60) of Bhagwangarh village hanged himself using his turban in a well located in his fields on Sunday.
He took the extreme step after suffering loss of cotton crop this year. Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Jagga Singh said Jagdev Singh had planted cotton on
five acres of his land and the entire crop was destroyed. He had leased another six acres for growing “guar”. He was showing signs of severe depression for the past few days. TNS

Farmers block railway tracks in favour of their demands at Muchhal village, near Amritsar, on Sunday. Photo: vishal kumar

Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, October 11

The farmers’ “rail roko” agitation in the state has affected the movement of more than 850 trains and hit over 20 lakh rail commuters in the past five days.

The protest has already caused financial loss to the tune of Rs 200 crore to the Ferozepur railway division alone, which is the largest railway division in the country with 1,850-km-long rail network.

Describing the disruption in services as “worst ever” in the history of the Railways in Punjab, officials said the movement of 884 trains was affected in Ferozepur and Ambala divisions of Railways.

The agitation spearheaded by eight farmers’ union has not only put lakhs of commuters to inconvenience, but has also jeopardised the entire functioning of this division.

Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozepur Division) Anuj Prakash said being the northernmost division of the Railways, the trains go in various directions from here, adding that their cancellation has affected the rail traffic in the entire country.

The DRM said till date during the past five days, 369 trains of the Ferozepur division alone had been affected that include 179 cancelled trains (94 mail and 85 passenger trains). Besides, 82 trains were diverted and 108 either short terminated or short originated.

“Though the exact figure cannot be ascertained, our financial loss will run into over Rs 200 crore,” he said, adding that the trains were already overcrowded in view of the festival season ahead.

“A big chunk of the migrant population wanted to go to Bihar for elections, but they have been put to inconvenience in wake of the strike,” the DRM said, adding that the transportation of foodgrains has also been delayed which might cause “price rise” in certain states.

“Moreover, we have limited number of drivers and guards who cannot be put on duty beyond 10 hours. As the trains have been taking long de-tours and also remain stranded for hours, the drivers were not getting enough rest which has put the safety of rail commuters at risk,” he said, adding that the rail officials were working round the clock to tide over the crisis.

The DRM said due to the cancellation of trains, thousands of reservations were being cancelled for which special counters have been put up by the Railways at various stations.

Last year, the Ferozepur railway division which generates annual revenue of Rs 3,800 crore had recorded a profit of around Rs 2,000 crore, which is likely to take a severe dent this year due to the ongoing agitation.

The DRM said the import-export business, tourism and goods transportation, besides trade, has also taken a hit.

“Over 40,000 tonnes of foodgrains are transported all over the country every day in the goods trains operating from this division, which will now reach their end destinations late,” a source said, adding that the export of rice would suffer that would indirectly affect the farmers only.

Meanwhile, the farmers continued their protest for the fifth consecutive day at Butari (Amritsar-Jalandhar section) and at Dugri (Ferozepur-Ludhiana section) due to which 73 trains were affected today in this division. Overall, 29 trains were cancelled, 18 trains were diverted, 12 trains short terminated and 14 trains short originated.


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