Incidents of Naxal attacks on railway property nearly doubled in 2009 and the Indian Railways lost over Rs 500 crore due to disruptions by Maoists, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee informed the Rajya Sabha today.
“Railways has become a target of Naxals,” she said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour.
“We have lost Rs. 500 crore because of Naxal bandhs and obstructions,” she said adding incidents of attacks by Naxals nearly doubled to 58 in 2009 from 30 in the previous year. 56 incidents were reported in 2007, she said.
Ms. Banerjee said it was impossible to man every inch of the 65,000 km rail route. “Whatever we can do in our jurisdiction, we do,” she said.
“We appeal to all the state governments to take some precaution so that we can run trains,” she said emphasising that law and order was a state subject and railways could do very little with the limited Railway Protection Force it has.
During the period of naxal attacks, bandhs and rail roko, running of trains is badly affected. Attacks on trains happen mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
“There has been adverse impact on operations, freight loading and passenger traffic on a localised basis during bandh calls and other threats in vulnerable areas,” she said.
Zonal railways affected by naxal violence are Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Danapur (East Central Railway), Asansol, Malda (Eastern Railway), Ranchi, Adra, Chakradharpur and Kharagpur (South Eastern Railway), Waltair, Sambalpur (East Coast Railway) and Guntakal, Secunderabad and Guntur (South Central Railway).
“Measures are taken for safety and security of trains like running of Rajdhani and other passenger trains,” she said. “However, there is no decision regarding capping the speed of all the Rajdhani and other super-fast trains.”