Kolkata: A rail blockade resorted by the Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan (ASA) at several places in Bengal, Jharkhand, and Assam demanding conferring of scheduled status to the Santhal community today threw the train services out of gear.
North Bengal region has been the worst hit by the blockade that was resorted to from 6 am onward and continued till around 3 pm at some places. This resulted in the cancellation of as many as 10 trains, while some 24 trains were either detained or short-terminated, or rescheduled.
The affected trains include 12042 NJP-Howrah Shatabdi Express and 13162 Balurghat-Kolkata Express that remained stranded at Eklakhi in Malda for over eight hours since 7.27 this morning.
Similarly, stranded for several hours were trains like the 14056 Delhi-Dibrugarh Brahmaputra Mail at Gour Malda station, 15906 Dibrugarh- Kanyakumari Vivek Express at Durgapur, 15661 Ranchi-Kamakhya Express at Bansol Bridge, and 25657 Sealdah-Guwahati Kanchanjangha Express at Bolpur.
In West Bengal, the blockade was put up at places like Jaugram in West Burdwan, at Pakur in Birbhum, Madhukunda, Indrabil, and Kantadih in Purulia, Kanki in North Dinajpur, and Adina in Malda.
This severely hit train movements along Howrah-Burdwan Chord Line that escalated to both EMU passenger trains and mail/express trains. All the 10 trains that were cancelled were to run between stations in north Bengal and Bihar/Assam.
At most places, the Adivasi activists lifted the blockade the without two-three hours from the start of the agitation at 6 am. However, in case of Malda, North Dinajpur, and lower Assam the blockade lasted till about 3.05 in the afternoon.