Other States

Bengal govt. wants resumption of suburban train services

The West Bengal government on Saturday wrote to the Eastern Railway (ER) for discussions on plying a few pairs of suburban trains. Home Secretary H.K. Dwivedi, in a letter written to ER General Manager Suneet Sharma, expressed concern over “use of unquiet means to disperse passengers in need at railway platforms”.

“The government is concerned to see the use of unquiet means to disperse passengers in need at railway platforms and has written a letter to railway authorities for discussions on plying a few pairs of trains in the morning and afternoon hours for general commuters at large on observance of physical distancing norms and health protocol..,” the Home department tweeted.

Mr. Dwivedi wrote, “It is painful to notice that that you are running these trains only for your staff, while many other sections of governmental service providers and members of society at large are denied these services. We are anguished that your Central forces have used coercive means to deal with members of public today in railway stations, which is deplorable.”

The Home Secretary also said the State government has helped run metro stations peacefully and efficiently. The Metro Railway in Kolkata resumed services in September and is carrying more than 70,000 passengers on a weekday.

The development also comes at a time when the Ministry of Railways has announced resumption of more suburban special trains in Mumbai.

The demand for resuming suburban train services has been gaining ground with several leaders of the BJP also supporting it. Millions of people used to take the services to reach Howrah and Sealdah stations from the districts around Kolkata before the lockdown had brought the trains to a halt in March. There have been instances of locals organising protests demanding the services. On some occasions, the Railway Protection Force has acted against passengers who had boarded the special trains.

Sources in the ER said they sent two letters to the State government for a co-ordination meeting but there was no response from the State. “Some of our officials also tried to reach out to the State government on the issue personally, but there has been no response,” a senior official said.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:10:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bengal-govt-wants-resumption-of-suburban-train-services/article32993269.ece

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