Kolkata: A 'rail roko' agitation by an umbrella organisation of adivasis (tribals) demanding recognition to their language was lifted in the early hours on Tuesday, nearly 22 hours after it had commenced in the western parts of Bengal, that left thousands of passengers stranded, a Railway spokesman said.
The agitators, demanding recognition to Adivasi language, had also blocked some highways in the region, compounding problems of the general public. Members of the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa lifted the blockade at Nekusini, Khemasuli, Balichak and Salboni stations of the South Eastern Railway between 2.16 am and 3.40 am, he said.
The blockade had begun at 6 am Monday. Train movement started after the blockades were lifted, SER spokesman Sanjoy Ghosh said.
Thousands of passengers faced inconvenience as trains to and from the southern, western and central parts of the country pass through the affected Kharagpur division of the SER to reach Howrah and some parts of Odisha.
Several express trains, including those connecting the city to Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur and Ahmedabad were cancelled or short terminated on Monday owing to the agitation.
The agitation led to stoppage of train movement in Kharagpur-Tatanagar, Kharagpur-Bhadrak, Kharagpur-Howrah and Kharagpur-Adra sections, Ghosh said. Lack of food and drinking water led to immense hardships for stranded passengers in trains which were detained en route.
Children and elderly people suffered the most as students of a few schools who were returning from educational excursions were also caught in the logjam.
The SER authorities said that it had made arrangements for food and drinking water at major stations, but these proved insufficient owing to the long hours of detention of several trains. Passengers of trains that were detained at stations with fewer facilities suffered the most.