Railway passengers had a harrowing time on Thursday as the Kurmi community’s agitation for ST status continued to hit rail services in the South Eastern Railway ( SER) zone for the third consecutive day. A lot of passengers also created ruckus at Tatanagar railway station.
The activists under the banner of Adivasi Kurmi Samaj continued their protest blocking railway tracks at various places including Kustaur and Nimdih railway stations of the Adra division, Khemasuli and Bhanjpur stations of Kharagpur division and Aunlajori station of Chakradharpur division.
SER cancelled over 20 passenger trains as the agitators demanded Scheduled Tribe (ST) status and inclusion of the Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
Starting from September 20, the agitation has hit train services in Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha. Some of the trains that were cancelled today are Howrah-Titlagarh-Kantabanji Ispat Express, Asansol-Tatanagar-Express, Tatanagar-Danapur Express, Tatanagar-Howrah-Steel Superfast Express, Howrah-Barbil-Howrah Janshatabdi Express, Tatanagar-Kharagpur Passenger, Howrah-Mumbai Geetanjali Express, Tatanagar- Asansol MEMU Passenger and Howrah- Ghatshila Express.
Apart from this several long-distance trains including Howrah bound Azad Hind Express, Duronto Express and Mumbai LTT-Shalimar Express were running on the diverted route. Around 15 trains were short-terminated.
Sources said senior railway officials were camping at the site of the agitations and are coordinating with the state government.
SER officials said never before had such agitation extended for three days. The ‘rail roko’ agitation resulted in a loss to the tune of several crores to the railways.
Meanwhile, passengers traveling to other places are facing harrowing times. Due to cancellation of trains they have no choice left to left in lurch. Due to this, the rush in other trains has increased so much that the authorities have issued a no-room for trains.
Located on the Howrah-Mumbai main route Tatanagar is an important station. Several important trains travel via Tatanagar, including the high-profile Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express. The station sees a daily traffic of 90 mail, express and passenger trains, besides a footfall of more than 60,000 passengers.