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Punjab Farmer Turmoil Costs Railways Rs 26 Crore a Day India News

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NEW DELHI / PATIALA: Indian railways have so far suffered losses of at least 1,670 million rupees, which is equivalent to almost 26 million rupees a day, due to ongoing farmer protest in Punjab. In addition, due to the ongoing stagnation, 3,090 freight trains were unable to operate for the transportation of basic products such as food grains, fertilizers, coal and petroleum products.
As of Monday night, there were no signs that rail operations would resume in the state, as protesters were still in station circulation areas at 25 sites, even after clearing the train tracks. “There is no guarantee on the operation of passenger trains. They want only freight trains to operate, but the railways cannot allow anyone to choose. It is also dangerous because many maintenance trains are passenger rakes. The threat of protesters approaching those trains can have disastrous consequences, ”said a rail official, who did not want to be named.
Sources said the situation is becoming more serious as the protests have a direct impact on the movement of essential commodities, including fuel to Jammu and Kashmir, and of essential supplies to meet defense forces requirements. . Official data shows that due to the protest, the railways were unable to operate 520 rakes to transport coal and 1,150 rakes for the movement of food grains.
The last operating unit at the government-run Lehra Mohabbat thermal power plant has suspended operations following instructions from the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to save coal for emergency situations. Power demand in Punjab has also dropped to around 4,000 MW. Punjab has five thermal power plants, including two run by the government. The three private plants have closed their operations due to the unavailability of coal. The two state-owned plants maintained a single operating unit to meet energy demand, but as fuel stocks ran out, the Ropar plant suspended operations on Wednesday and the unit at the Lehra Mohabbat plant packed up on Saturday night.
The stagnation has also started to affect farmers, as almost 270 rakes could not be operated to transport fertilizers to the state. “There is no idea if normalcy will return anytime soon. There has been no improvement on the ground for over a week. We were unable to operate close to 600 container rakes. The impact is felt in all sections of Punjab. We are ready to operate trains as long as the state guarantees that no protesters will return to the tracks when we operate freight and passenger trains, ”the rail official said.
Northern Railway data shows that 1,565 passenger trains have been canceled in whole or in part. Another 105 trains have been diverted since September 22. “Many trains had to end at Ambala, which is known as a short termination. Every day trains were planned waiting for the return of normality. But the crisis has not ended, ”said another official.

Times of India

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