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Demand for direct train to Allahabad

Sambalpur, Feb. 21: Local residents today staged a protest outside the divisional railway manager’s office here demanding introduction of a direct train from here to Allahabad.

The agitators, under the aegis of the Sambalpur Nagarika Kalyan Samiti, prevented officials from entering the office by locking its main gate.

“We have been demanding for a train between Sambalpur and Allahabad for a long time. The railways are yet to take any initiative,” said Samiti convenor Mahendra Mishra.

“People of this region suffer because of the absence of a direct train between the two places. Since Prayag, the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna rivers, is in Allahabad, many people need to visit the place to perform rituals. We have to go to Katni in Madhya Pradesh and get a train to Allahabad,” said Mishra.

“The Jammu Tawi-Rourkela Express passes through Allahabad. If the train is extended up to Sambalpur, it could meet our demand. The railway authorities can easily extend it up to Sambalpur,” said Satyanarayan Thakur, another agitator.

“Considering the convenience of a large number of people, the authorities should take measures to extend the Jammu Tawi-Rourkela express up to Sambalpur or provide a new train to Allahabad,” said Govind Agrawal, another agitator.

However, the agitators called off the dharna in the afternoon following a discussion with divisional railway manager A.K. Gupta. He said: “Even, we want a train to Allahabad from Sambalpur. But, there are operational constraints. We have already sent a proposal to the railway board about a direct train to Allahabad from Sambalpur.”