A demonstration by general passengers to demand the resumption of local train service turned violent in West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Sunday.
Showing red flags, the passengers blocked the railway tracks in Hooghly station to disrupt the journey of the special trains that are being run for the railway staff.
The strike, which began early in the morning was also witnessed in the nearby Khannan and Pandua stations, reported ABP Ananda. A batallion of Railway Protection Force (RPF) from Bandel had to be deployed to contain the situation.
In his bid to calm the enraged passengers, Eastern Railway’s Howrah Division Assistant Secretary Mohmmad Aslam assured that the general passengers will also be allowed to board the special trains from now onwards.
His assurance paid dividends as the passengers called off their protests and moved away from the tracks.
The situation on Sunday was an extension of what has been happening in various parts of South Bengal where voices to start the local train services have only grown louder.
Local trains for general passengers have been shut ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb the rise of coronavirus cases.
Despite being in the fourth month since the unlocking procedure began, the local trains have not yet been opened for general passengers.
Last week violence had erupted in Sonarpur station as well when a few passengers were asked to deboard the special train.
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. But nothing has been done so far to resume the train service.
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, has not found a space even in the Unlock-5 guidelines.