Updated: February 21, 2016 10:04:58 pm
Haryana remained virtually cut-off from the rest of the country, thanks to the Jat agitation which had a cascading effect on rail and road links across northern India.
The government had to deploy 33 units of the Army in nine districts of the stir-hit state. More than 800 trains remained affected even as agitators set on fire seven railway stations, including Jhajjar, Buddha Khed, Julana and Pillu Kheda. Ahmedabad Rajdhani, Jammu Rajdhani, Shatabdi Express for Amritsar, Kalka, Chandigarh, Bhatinda, and Jaipur AC double-decker services are among 527 trains cancelled due to the Jat agitation, said a Railways spokesman.
Main railway routes touching Haryana — Delhi-Rewari, Rewari-Alwar, Lohari-Sadulpur sections spanning across Northern and North Western zones of railways — remained shut. While 136 trains were diverted, 68 were partially cancelled. Overall, services of 419 Mail or Express trains were hit. Zonal railways reported a huge number of passengers stranded at Jammu station since the route has been shut due to the stir.
The disruptions have caused a loss of around Rs 250 crore to the Railways, thanks to the disrupted freight movement. The situation on national highways as well as state highways was worse. Thousands of people were stranded at Haryana’s border areas as protesters blocked highways at key entry points. Jat protesters blocked the busy national highway near Kondli village in Sonepat district as early as 8 am Saturday, affecting vehicular movement to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir. The protesters then deflated tyres of trucks and passenger buses even as a handful of Haryana policemen looked on.
Agitated vehicle owners, passengers and truck drivers were seen telling the handful of police personnel to call for more forces to rein in the protesters. Not even a single extra policeman arrived on the scene for the next three hours. “We have requested for more force. Till they arrive, we cannot do anything,” a Haryana police constable said.
Nearly three hours later, paramilitary forces arrived on the scene. Although they partially cleared the road blocks erected by the protesters, traffic could not move as trucks and buses with their tyres deflated remained on the roads. Jat protesters even blocked interior parallel roads. And as the forces moved forward, the roadblocks reappeared.
Similar scenes were witnessed at all Delhi-Haryana entry points.
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