Public Protests Force Govt To Start Talks With Rlys On Resuming Local Train Services: Oppn
The opposition BJP, CPI(M) and Congress on Monday said that the West Bengal government was forced to start discussions with the Railways on resuming local train services following protests by people at various stations. They also demanded an increase in the number of trains from the proposed 10-20 per cent of normal services initially.
- Last Updated: November 03, 2020, 02:10 IST
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Kolkata, Nov 2: The opposition BJP, CPI(M) and Congress on Monday said that the West Bengal government was forced to start discussions with the Railways on resuming local train services following protests by people at various stations. They also demanded an increase in the number of trains from the proposed 10-20 per cent of normal services initially.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, said that it was not the time to indulge in “political blame game” but to work towards mitigating sufferings of the common man. After a meeting with the chief secretary and other top government officials, railway authorities on Monday expressed keenness to resume local train services in West Bengal allowing 50 per cent of passenger strength and ensuring that COVID-19 safety protocols are followed strictly.
Initially, the Railways are planning to resume the operations with 10-20 per cent of the normal services which will be slowly increased to 25 per cent. Left Front legislature party leader in the assembly, Sujan Chakraborty of the CPI(M), said that the government was forced to initiate talks with the railways on the face of protests by daily commuters at different rail stations of the Howrah-Bandel section.
“The state government and Centre did not act on the issue earlier. On the face of mounting public unrest, the state was forced to convene the meeting. But how can they cope with the rush by running 15 per cent trains and allowing 50 per cent passengers? To maintain COVID-19 protocols, the frequency should be increased,” he said. BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Despite repeated letters from the Railways about resumption of local train services, this government sat idle. Now, facing public discontent, they have initiated the process which should have been done earlier.
Trinamool Congress leader and state minister Bratya Basu said that there should not be any political blame game over the issue. “Trains would be run with 50 per cent occupancy and there will be more galloping trains,” he said.
Veteran Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya said that both state and the railways “took a wrong decision of running 15-20 per cent trains with 50 per cent passenger capacity. This will not solve the problem.” Instead, they should have increased the frequency of trains with all health safety protocols, he said. Bhattacharya wondered if offices can open, buses and other vehicular transport can ply, trains should be operated more frequently. “That would at least reduce overcrowding in buses and reduce chances of contamination.” TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh said that the state had sent a letter to the Centre on August 28 for partial resumption of train services but there was no response.
The final decision on the resumption of local train services will be taken at a meeting between the state government and the Railways on November 5.
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