Jamshedpur/Ranchi/Kolkata: Train services of South Eastern Railway (SER) were affected in two of its divisions as people belonging to the Kurmi community have been blocking two railway stations in West Bengal for three days.
The Kurmis, demanding Scheduled Tribe status for the community and inclusion of the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, launched the agitation at various rail stations in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand at 4 AM on Tuesday.
While the blockade was lifted in all other stations by the evening of the same day, it continued at Khemasuli in Paschim Medinipur district and Kustaur in Purulia district.
“As a result, 140 Mail/Express & Passenger trains have been cancelled. Apart from this, 69 trains have been short terminated/short originated, 65 trains have been diverted and three trains have been rescheduled” since Tuesday, the SER said in a statement.
Kustaur and Khemasuli stations fall under Adra and Kharagpur Divisions respectively.
The SER statement said that senior officers of the railway are at the site to monitor the situation and are coordinating with the state government.
Meanwhile, an organisation of the Kurmi people on Thursday said in Ranchi that it postponed its proposed “rail blockade” agitation in Jharkhand on September 25 to press for the same two demands.
The organisation, Totenik Kurmi/ Kurmi Samaj (TK/KS), on September 13 wrote a letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informing him of the ‘Rail Chakka Jam’.
“We have decided to postpone the agitation that was scheduled on September 25 in the wake of our participation in the joint protest called by Odisha and West Bengal units of the Kurmi community on September 20,” Jharkhand convener of TK/KS Sheetal Ohdar said.
He said that they would soon announce their future course of action soon.
Passengers create ruckus at Tatanagar
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.
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.
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.