South Eastern Railway general manager Vinay Mittal (on phone) at Tatanagar railway station on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, June 28: The message is loud and clear — it is better to be safe than sorry on tracks.
The restriction on movement of passenger trains between Kharagpur-Tatanagar, Chakradharpur-Rourkela and Kharagpur-Adra sections is going to stay even after 13 months have passed since the Jnaneshwari Express tragedy occurred on May 28, 2010.
This was hinted by general manager of South Eastern Railway (SER) Vinay Mittal today. Mittal, here to inspect Tatanagar station and attend the SER’s Men’s Congress central working committee meeting as chief guest, told newsmen that though there was “some consensus on the issue”, they were yet to get any written assurance from Jharkhand and Orissa governments on beefing up security.
Mittal went on to say that earlier this year an attempt had been made to lift the night ban on passenger trains between Tatanagar and Rourkela sections, but rebels executed an attack on a railway cabin at Bandamunda, which made the railways pull back. Close on the heels of Bandamunda, rebels attacked Kiriburu.
Notably, the night ban on trains will be clamped till June 30 according to the latest circular issued by the Calcutta-based Garden Reach headquarters of South Eastern Railway.
The night ban on passenger trains is being extended ever since May last year, when Maoist sabotage on tracks caused the Jnaneshwari to be derailed, killing around 150 and injuring 50 others.
But the night ban is affecting commuters in this industrial hub. A delegation of Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) led by general secretary Suresh Sonthalia had met the railway general manager over the issue.
“Trade and industry of this region is suffering since the past one year due to the night ban,” he said, adding they handed over a memorandum to Mittal, highlighting the plight of passengers.
Referring to the proposed Jugsalai railway overbridge, Mittal said they had prepared a blueprint with an estimate and it was now the turn of the state government to take a decision. The overbridge is to be built by the railways and the state as a joint venture.
Mittal also stressed on improving passenger amenities at Tatanagar, the only A-category station under Chakradharpur railway division. He said Garden Reach was working to ensure entry to the station from Burmamines.