RANCHI: The halting of trains at night for the past two-and-half months in areas bordering Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa fearing Maoist attacks has been causing immense inconvenience to people in the region.
After the Gyaneshwari Express derailment on May 28, the South Eastern Railway halted train services at night in the Kharagpur-Raurkela, Kharagpur-Adra and Chakradharpur railway divisions.
“The trains are halted from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. everyday. Even some trains which have not been rescheduled are halted at respective railway stations if they are running late in the evening,” Mr Gopal Jivan Banerjee, commercial manager of Chakradharpur railway division, told IANS over telephone.
Eight trains, including the Geetanjali Express, Azad Hind Express, Bombay Mail, and Utkal Express, have been rescheduled.
The railway authorities extend the night halting of trains every four to six days. They said on Wednesday the night halts will remain in force till August 16.
They say that unless there is foolproof security, trains cannot run at night.
“There is no option but to halt, cancel trains or divert routes. We cannot risk lives of passengers,” said an official of the Dhanbad railway division.
More than half dozen trains, including seven key trains, remain stranded at night in Tatanagar (Jamshedpur) and other railway stations.
“The changed timing of trains has compounded our problems. Sometime we have to unnecessarily stay in the train the whole night,” said Mr Deepak Kumar, a frequent traveller.
What compounds the problems of passengers are the frequent Maoist calls for strike. This year Maoists have so far called strike for a total 17 days.