Eastern Railway has decided to resume to the local train service in West Bengal after stopping it in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic-imposed lockdown in the country.
The railways on Wednesday sent a letter to state secretariat Nabanna, asking for a meeting with the West Bengal government to decide the standard operating procedures (SOP) to resume the service. Similar letters have been sent to other state governments as well.
The railways department has sought a meeting via video conferencing. The letter has also asked the state government to decide a date for the meeting. However, there had been no communication from Nabanna till Thursday morning.
Despite being in the fourth month since the unlocking procedure began, the local trains have not yet been opened for general passengers. The railway, though, has been running special local trains for its staff.
With the offices in Kolkata opening up after the lockdown, the workers travelling to and from the districts have been going through a nightmare on the road.
Overcrowded buses and overpriced taxis and auto services have worsened the situation for the passengers.
Requesting to immediately begin the local train service in Bengal, number of general passengers and hawkers have mailed the railways officials. A written letter demanding the same has been handed over to Sealdah Station DRM and Eastern Railway’s Deputy General Manager.
Even though the Metro services were resumed following the Unlock-4 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The local train service, on the other hand, did not get a mention even in the Unlock-5 guidelines.
Failing to get the attention of railway officials, large sections of general passengers decided to take steps. In the last 10-15 days, protests were witnessed in various stations of south Bengal.
Passengers in Liluah station in Howrah division resorted to vandalism, while rail tracks were blocked in Hooghly, Pandua and Khannan stations to demand immediate resumption of local train service for general passengers.
Last week violence had erupted in Sonarpur station as well when a few passengers were asked to deboard the special train.