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Munda promises extra cover for night trains

Jamshedpur, Jan. 16: Chief minister Arjun Munda today expressed concern over the ban on movement of passenger trains at night, which is affecting schedules in Jamshedpur, one of the venues for the 34th National Games.

Talking to newsmen here today, Munda said, “It’s a matter of great concern. We are making all efforts to organise the National Games in a grand manner. But the ban on night trains is one issue, which is a real worry for us. It is going to affect the arrival of delegates, guests and other participants from various places.”

Munda said the state government was ready to provide necessary security to railway routes falling under vulnerable stretches and that it was now up to the railways to run passenger trains during night.

“Earlier, I had appealed to the Union railway ministry, considering the inconvenience faced by passengers. I have appealed again to the ministry keeping in mind the National Games. We want the ban lifted before the national event,” he said.

The ban on movement of passenger trains on the Kharagpur-Tatanagar and Chakradharpur-Rourkela sections of South Eastern Railway has been repeatedly extended after the Jnaneswari Express tragedy on May 28, 2010, because of “threat perception”, despite protests.

The chief minister added that the performance of athletes would be affected if the trains get delayed because of the night ban.

“For the last eight months, several trains are not running according to schedule due to the night ban. This will affect arrival of the participants in Jamshedpur and their performance,” he said.

With less than a month left for the National Games, the state has geared up preparations to ensure smooth conduct of the jinxed event. “I have also requested the Prime Minister to be the chief guest for the closing ceremony. His presence at the closing ceremony will motivate sportspersons. My secretariat is in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office and we hope to get a confirmation soon,” he said.

Munda said after the Games ended, the cabinet would take a decision on appointing an authority for the maintenance of infrastructure. He, however, refused comment on the Games budget.

In response to another question, the chief minister said his filing of nomination papers for the Kharsawan by-elections would be officially announced in a day or two.

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