The Indian Railways today announced cancellation of freight movement till October 29, just two days after it decided to restore the movement of goods trains in the state as farmers in protest partially withdrew their ‘rail roko’ agitation.
The Railways has cited the continuation of blockade at many places, especially around Amritsar, Nabha, Talwandi Sabo and Moga as the reason behind this move.
“The Ferozepur and Ambala divisions resumed operations last Thursday. Till Sunday, both divisions operated 173 goods train. However, at some places, empty rakes of goods trains as well as loaded trains were stopped by protesting farmers. As a result, the goods trains have been once again suspended due to operational and safety considerations.”~Rajesh Aggarwal, Divisional Railways Manager (DRM), Ferozepur Division
Mr Aggarwal cited how the operations of goods trains were not possible in a ‘restricted’ manner due to factors like availability of rakes, staff and power that were interlinked in order to facilitate smooth running of goods trains.
The DRM stressed that they “cannot compromise on the safety and security” of the men and material”.
Although the Railways has attributed this halt in goods’ train movement to operational constraints, yet some have termed the move as a “snub” by the Centre to the agitating farmers and ruling Congress government in the state.
The Ministry of Railways had sought assurance from the state government on the safety and security of its rakes and train operating staff before it decided to resume the freight services, as shared by industry sources.