The state government will hold a meeting with the Eastern Railway on resumption of local train services at Nabanna tomorrow.
According to sources the meeting is likely to be held at 5 p.m. between senior state bureaucrats and the railway representatives.
The decision comes following a letter from the state government to the Eastern Railway yesterday seeking discussions on operating a few pairs of suburban trains in the morning and afternoon hours for the general commuters maintaining Covid protocols.
The state government’s letter was written against the backdrop of an agitation at Howrah station by some commuters demanding they be allowed to board the staff special train meant only for railway employees.
According to the agitators, the railway police allegedly resorted to unprovoked lathi charge on them and chased them away from the station platform. The state Home Secretary, H.K. Dwivedi, in the letter addressed to the general manager of Eastern Railway, Suneet Sharma, had also expressed concerns over “use of unquiet means to disperse passengers in need at railway platforms.”
The letter further read, “In the meantime, you have since resumed suburban train services. It is painful to notice that you are running these trains for your staff only, while many other sections of governmental service providers and members of the society at large are denied these services. We are anguished that your central forces have used coercive means to deal with the members of public today in railway stations, which is deplorable.”
Earlier the state government, in the last week of August, had written a letter to the Railway Board, stating that metro and local train services could be resumed in a limited manner in West Bengal but with all health safety protocols.
The Eastern Railway had then requested the state government for a coordination meeting to discuss matters related to resumption of suburban trains.
Later, on 13 October, the zonal railway authorities sent a second letter to the state government seeking a meeting to discuss the possible ways of resuming local train services. Notably, the demand for resuming local train services has been growing from several sections with each passing day.
Earlier this month, some locals at Pandua, Khannan, Liluah and Howrah stations agitated while a section of regular local train passengers along with the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) submitted a letter to the divisional railway managers of Howrah and Sealdah divisions to resume train services at the earliest.