The Gujjar and Jat agitations and protest actions during the past five years have cost the Indian Railways crores of rupees, with losses in just the Kota Division of West Central Railway being Rs. 14.77 crore. Besides, nearly 25 lakh passengers suffered on account of cancellations due to these agitations, replies from the West Central Railway secured through the Right to Information Act 2005 applications have revealed.
Incidentally, till now not much was known of the losses to the various divisions of the railways besides Northern Railway, which had claimed last year that its losses could well be in excess of the Rs. 200-crore mark.
In response to RTI applications filed by a Delhi-based advocate, Ravinder Raj, the West Central Railway said the loss suffered by it during the past five years due to these agitations was Rs.14,77,32,592. And this is only the loss through the reserved tickets, and doesn't take into account the loss in revenue if the prospective general category passengers are also taken into account.
The agitations, which went on for days, also led to massive cancellations. As per the West Central Railway, the “number of innocent traumatised Railway passengers/families” that faced multifaceted harassment due to cancellation or diversion of trains during the last five years was 25,85,292. And again, the general category passengers who suffered would only add to these figures.
The figures released by the railways to Mr. Raj earlier this year further show that on a single special train (No. 09735), which used to leave from Jaipur but had to be cancelled on account of the Gujjar agitation, the loss was Rs. 7.32 lakh, of which Rs. 5.2 lakh was lost due to cancellation of 1002 reserved tickets, and Rs. 1.3 lakh due to cancellation of 253 internet tickets. A sum of nearly Rs. 82,000 was also lost on account of the unreserved tickets.
As for the year-wise loss, the Railways had stated that it didn't have the records or figures for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08. However, it said in 2008-09, Rs. 1.67 crore was lost due to the Gujjar agitation.
While there was no agitation in 2009-10, the following year, 2010-11, saw protests and blockades by both Jats and Gujjars. As per the Railways, Rs. 1.13 crore was lost on account of the Jat agitation, Rs.11 lakh during bandhs and strikes, and Rs. 4 lakh due to the Gujjar agitation in this fiscal.
Apart from Rajasthan and Haryana, the Railways had also incurred losses during bandhs and agitations in Uttar Pradesh. In response to another query by Mr. Raj, the North Central Railway had stated that one of its trains, 14511 Nauchandi Express, that used to ply between Allahabad and Saharanpur, had remained cancelled for a full week last November, and due to this, the Allahabad zone had lost nearly Rs. 39.28 lakh.