Thousands of trucks carrying medicines, vegetables, fish and other essential items are stranded at different places in the inter-state border of Bengal and Jharkhand along the National Highway 6 owing to the ongoing protest of the Kurmi organizations blocking railway tracks and roads.
Fearing shortage in supply of essential items particularly medicines in Bengal Subhas Chandra Bose, general secretary of the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators association, has written to the chief minister Mamata Banerjee, transport minister Snehashis Chakraborty and his department secretary Soumitra Mohan requesting their interventions on the matter.
“Several thousands of trucks carrying essential items like medicines, vegetables and fish have been stranded at Lodhasuli, Khemasuli, Narayangarh, Danton and several other places along the national highway and could not move owing to protests organized by the Kurmi organizations. Drivers and helpers are spending grueling hours virtually without food and water amidst scorching heat,” Subhas told The Statesman on Friday.
“Huge quantities of vegetables, fish and medicines might be damaged if the trucks could not reach respective destinations as soon as possible. I have written to the chief minister, transport minister, chief secretary and transport secretary requesting their interventions,” he added.
Different Kurmi organizations have been blocking train tracks in important Kharagpur-Tatanagar, AdraChandil sections of South Eastern Railway (SER) for the past three days demanding their recognition as a scheduled tribe and inclusion of Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. The agitators have also blocked different roads in the area.
More than 244 trains have been cancelled since 5 April when the blockade by a group of people over issues not related to the railway started at Kustaur station in Purulia in the Adra division and Khemasuli station in Kharagpur division.
In 2022, the Kurmi organizations had also blocked railway tracks for five days over similar demands. Mr Roy Chowdhury, president of Bengal Chemists and Druggist Association (BCDA), said, “We have heard about the railway track blockade programme by some Kurmi organizations but there is no such report of trucks carrying medicines have been stranded on the NH-6. I will check it with our association members in Jhargram, West Midnapore and Purulia districts because it’s an important issue.”