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Railway passengers, vendors bear the brunt of farmers’ blockade

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Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, May 17

Passengers and vendors at the Amritsar railway station are irked at non-plying of a number of trains due to the blockade of the main railway line by farmers at Shambhu near Ambala.

Sources in the railways stated that there is about 30 per cent shortfall in the footfall of passengers at the local railway station. It is causing financial losses not only to vendors at the station but also to auto and taxi drivers.

Most of the trains plying from the Amritsar railway station are being diverted from Sahnewal near Ludhiana and Chandigarh to reach Ambala cantonment. Earlier, the trains originated from the Amritsar station used to pass the Rajpura station to reach the Ambala Cantonment station, which was much shorter and consumed less time. Now travel time of passengers have increased for the past one month.

Seven pairs of both up and down trains are cancelled and 23 pairs of trains are being diverted via other routes.

Travelling by trains has become an ordeal for passengers as farmers are sitting on the railway tracks for nearly the past one month. Both cancellation and rescheduling of trains have caused innumerable miseries to commuters and vendors and traders who have lost business.

Davinder Singh, a trader, who commutes once a week to Delhi, said travel time has increased by many hours. He said passengers were compelled to shift to buses due to diversion of trains. Frequent cancellations have made railway journey uncertain. So people are avoiding to book railway tickets.

Vendors at the railway station earning their livelihood by selling eatables are irked at repeated blockades of train tracks. A similar blockade in February had caused them huge financial losses. Now they are again suffering losses. They state that each vendor pays a monthly rent between Rs 15,000 and Rs 27,000 to the railways, besides 18 per cent GST over it.

Besides, their other expenditure include about Rs 11.79 per unit commercial power tariff, salaries to their employees, maintenance and other charges. Frequent blockades are causing them losses and they are unable to make ends meet. They demanded compensation from the railways to meet their expenses.

Paramdeep Singh Saini, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, said the railways does not have any mechanism to assess losses of vendors and then compensate. Besides, several delayed trains may have provided more earning opportunities to vendors.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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