Farmers’ protest: Passengers stranded at Jammu, Katra stations as 7 trains cancelled, 13 diverted
Jammu, Sep 29 (PTI) A large number of passengers, many of them pilgrims, were stranded at Jammu and Katra railway stations on Friday as seven trains were cancelled and 13 diverted due to a “rail roko” agitation by farmers in different parts of Punjab.
Members of several farmers’ bodies began their three-day agitation on Thursday to press their demands such as a financial package for losses caused by recent floods, legal guarantee to minimum support price (MSP) and debt waiver.
As part of the protest, farmers squatted on train tracks in many places, including Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar.
“Due to this agitation, some trains have been affected but 60 to 70 per cent of trains are being run through diverted routes. Officials have been put on duty round the clock to monitor train traffic and ensure minimum inconvenience to passengers,” senior railway official Prateek Shrivastav told PTI.
Railway officials said 13 trains have so far been diverted and seven cancelled due to the agitation.
Shrivastav said the agitation has directly affected Ambala and Firozpur railway divisions.
“The trains have been diverted from here via the Nakodar area (in Punjab). Major affected area is Jalandhar. Two special trains to Katra have been cancelled. Shiv Shakti train has also been cancelled,” he said.
The official said that every day, 15,000 to 20,000 people arrive at the Katra railway station. “Of them, 70 per cent are pilgrims. Due to this agitation, some trains have been affected and the majority of trains are being diverted to ferry them,” he said.
However, the number of stranded passengers at Jammu and Katra railway stations are increasing causing them inconvenience due to the cancellation and diversion of trains.
“We are stranded at the railway station. we don’t know what to do. We would have reached home. But now they are saying that trains will be diverted…. It is a problem for us,” Arvind Kumar of Gorakhpur said.
Bihari Lal of Chhattisgarh, returning home after paying obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, remained stranded at the railway station.
“We have been stranded here since yesterday after the train was cancelled. We don’t know what to do. No one is listening to us. We are a group of eight people, including children,” Lal said.
Suraj Singh of Ahmedabad, who along with 11 people returned from a Kashmir visit and were to take a train back home, was told that the train had been cancelled.
“They told us to come tomorrow. Where will we stay? It means Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for staying in a hotel. Taxi operators demanded Rs 35,000 for a trip to Delhi,” he said.