Staff Reporter

1,500 passengers stranded for whole night at Berhampur

Several trains cancelled, short-terminated or rescheduled

Among stranded passengers is Umerkote MLA Dharmu Gond

BERHAMPUR: Maoists’ attack on the Gumada railway station in Andhra Pradesh on Andhra-Orissa border on Tuesday night disrupted railway traffic on the Vizianagaram-Rayagada section of the Visakhapatnam Division of the East Coast Railway on Wednesday.

Several trains on this route had to be cancelled, short-terminated or rescheduled. Over 1500 panicked railway passengers spent their whole night at the railway station following this naxal attack. Naxals blasted the Gumada railway station, 32 km from Rayagada town in Orissa at around 10.30 pm. The passengers of the Vizag-Korba link express which had left the station just a few minutes before the attack could hear the blasts which they described at the Rayagada station. The Koraput-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express and the Ahmedabad-Puri express were detained at the Rayagada station on Tuesday night as the naxals through their letters had threatened that they had also planted bombs on the railway track.

‘Step up security’

Around 1,500 passengers in both these trains were stranded at Rayagada. The inspector of the RPF posted at Rayagada said the trains were not allowed to travel till the tracks were thoroughly checked. These passengers had to suffer sleepless night for over nine hours till their trains were allowed to continue their journey on Wednesday morning.

Among the stranded passengers was the State general secretary of the BJP and Umerkote MLA, Dharmu Gond. Speaking to newsmen, Mr Gond said the railways should increase security measures in naxal-prone areas for safe travel of passengers. Most of the passengers in the Ahmedabad-Puri express were migrant labourers from Ganjam district who were returning home from Gujarat. They had to suffer for the delay of their train. They reached Berhampur in the evening with no facility to reach their villages in remote areas of the district.

As per a release of the East Coast Railway the journey of passenger trains between Vizianagaram and Titlagarh remained cancelled on Wednesday following the naxal attack. Different express trains like 2843 Puri-Ahmedabad Express, 8447 Bhubaneswar-Koraput Hirakhand Express, 2807 Visakhapatnam-Nizamuddin Samata Express, 8448 Koraput-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express, 2844 Ahmedabad-Puri Express, 8517 Korba-Visakhapatnam Express, 3351 Dhanbad-Bokaro-Alappuzha Express and 2835 Hatia-Yeshvantpur Express trains were detained at different stations en route.