January 6, 2022 5:19:27 am
Protests erupted in parts of Kolkata and adjoining areas on Wednesday over a reduction in the number of local trains in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 infections with daily commuters blocking the railway traffic at Thakurnagar and Taldi stations.
Residents, mostly flower sellers and women, are demanding resumption of the first two morning local trains on the Sealdah-Bangaon route.
Following a spike in infections, the government from Monday reimposed some of the curbs in the state that included night curfew and reduction in train services with a cap of 50 per cent capacity. Owing to the night curfew, the railways revised the schedule of local trains with the last service limited to 10 pm and the first service from 5 am.
Protesters complained that cancellation of early morning trains will impact their livelihood as most local traders, especially flower sellers, used to take their produce to the markets in Kolkata via the early morning trains. They said that even the 5 am local train service on the route is reserved for healthcare workers and other emergency services personnel.
Wednesday’s protest on the Sealdah-Bangaon route led to the trains running only between Gaighata to Sealdah.
At Taldi station on South Sealdah route, people threw iron sheets on the railway line, leading to disruption in the train services.
The blockade at Thakurnagar station was lifted around 7 pm after nearly 14 hours, railway officials said. “The blockades caused cancellation of 36 trains and short-termination of 18 more,” said Eastern Railway spokesperson Ekalabya Chakraborti.
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