The agitation for resuming night train services in the Howrah-Mumbai route via Tatanagar reached the Chakradharpur divisional headquarters on Friday with BJP activists from Kolhan staging a dharna-cum-demonstration at Chakradharpur railway station and also in front of the office of divisional railway manager (DRM).
Party members from the three districts of East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan started trooping to Chakradharpur, the railway divisional headquarters, since early morning. The 3,000-strong mob raised slogans against the Union railway ministry and the railway board for its failure to resume passenger train services at night in the Kharagpur-Tatanagar, Chakradharpur-Rourkela and Kharagpur-Adra sections of South Eastern Railway. Senior party leaders, including Barkunwar Gagrai and Dineshanand Goswami, also took part in the protest that began around 10.30am and lasted for over an hour.
The BJP workers, led by a senior functionary and state spokesperson Amarpreet Singh Kale, also staged demonstration in front of the DRM’s office. Some even tried to barge into the office by breaking the security cordon.
“We had informed the railway authorities at Chakradharpur about the agitation. We were compelled to hit the streets as passengers of Kolhan region are bearing the major brunt of the ban,” said Kale.
The party’s East Singhbhum district president Rajkumar Srivastava pointed out that the restriction on movement of night trains was also affecting business. “Earlier, traders and businessmen from Kolhan used to go to Calcutta and return the same day. But, now they are required to stay for a day due to the curbs,” he said.
As DRM Achal Khare is away in New Delhi, a delegation led by Kale met the additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), B.P. Singh, and handed over a memorandum, highlighting their demands and the plight of passengers.
The ban on night train was imposed after the Jnaneswari Express tragedy in Bengal on May 28, 2010. Since then, the railway board has been extending the curbs for a week after reviewing security and other aspects every time.