The West Bengal government and South Eastern Railways (SER) authorities will meet on June 11 to discuss security for trains running through Maoist-affected areas at night.
This will be the first meeting since the disaster of the Jnaneswari Express near Sardiha station in Paschim Medinipur district on May 28 claimed the lives of 150 people.
After services were resumed on the Kharagpur-Tatanagar and the Kharagpur-Rourkela sections of the SER on May 30, train movement on the section has remained suspended from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily due to security concerns.
A senior Railway Protection Force (RPF) official told The Hindu on Monday that the railway authorities had proposed the meeting in view of repeated attacks by left-wing extremists over the past several months, climaxing with the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express.
“The RPF does not have the wherewithal to resist Maoist sabotage activities during the night over track that run for hundreds of kilometres. So the main focus of the meeting will be on whether the State government could guarantee security to railway properties at night or not. If the State government denies this, we have to continue suspending night operations,” the official said.
The Railways Ministry, meanwhile, has taken up with the Home Ministry deployment of CRPF personnel.