GUWAHATI, July 24 � Thousands of train passengers travelling between North East India and other parts of the country had their travel plans scuttled with temporary termination and regulation of major train services. Concerned over passenger safety after violent incidents in parts of western Assam, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has decided to cancel or control passenger trains.
Reports from some passengers suggest that groups of miscreants armed with spears and stones blocked the Rajdhani Express bound for Guwahati. They further mentioned damage caused to at least four coaches of the train.
NFR sources in Maligaon told The Assam Tribune that the running of two pairs of New Delhi-bound Rajdhani Exp have been cancelled. Both were scheduled to depart early this morning and were stationed at Guwahati and Kamakhya.
Passengers on stranded trains are among those who have been held hostage for a long period in confined quarters. Sanitation facilities in many trains have been left unattended to and lack of information available to passengers about possible train movement has added to their woes.
According to NFR sources, the trains which are at small stations will be taken to major stations where facilities for coach watering, coach charging and catering facilities are available.
The situation in stations, which include Guwahati, where trains have been regulated, was one of anxiety and despair. Mahar Ali had come to see off his neighbours who were to travel by the Rajdhani Exp to New Delhi. Till four in the afternoon, he stayed beside the coach enquiring about the train�s departure. But reliable information was not forthcoming.
BB Gurung, a resident of Dibrugarh, was to take the Brahmaputra Exp to visit Siliguri. After more than three hours of the announced departure, the train stood motionless at platform number one of Guwahati station.
The number of trains affected so far has seriously curtailed connectivity between the Northeast and the rest of India. Originating in Dibrugarh, the 15960 Dn Kamrup Exp of July 24 bound for Howrah has been cancelled along with the 12423 Dn Rajdhani Exp bound for New Delhi and the 14055 Dn B P Mail bound for Delhi.
Six down trains from Guwahati station and two from Kamakhya Junction were cancelled which include the 12510 Dn Guwahati-Bangalore Exp, 12501 Dn PB Samparkranti Exp, 12505 Dn NE Exp bound for Anand Vihar (New Delhi), 15609 Dn Avadh Assam Exp, 15658 Dn Kanchanjangha Exp, 15648 Dn Guwahati-LT(T) Mumbai Exp, 13247 Dn Capital Exp bound for Danapur, and 15662 Dn Kamakhya-Ranchi Exp.
Uncertainty also prevails over the arrival of several important up trains which have been controlled at various stations � Kamakhyaguri, New Coochbehar, Jorai, New Alipurduar, Falakati, Srirampur, Fakiragram, Basugaon, Kokrajhar and Salakati. The trains which have been controlled and will have late arrivals include the 12506 Up NE Exp, 12424 Up Rajdhani Exp, the 12436 Up Rajdhani Exp, the 13248 Up Capital Exp the 15657 Up Kanchanjangha Exp, the 15610 Up Avadh Assam Exp, 15610 Up Avadh Assam Exp, 12502 Up P B Samparkranti Exp, and 12345 Up Saraighat Exp.
Seven major trains from Guwahati have also been regulated due to security concerns. These include the 12505 Dn NE Exp, 12510 Dn Guwahati-Bangalore Exp, 15960 Dn Kamrup Exp, 15620 Guwahati-Gaya Exp, 15651 Dn Lohit Exp, 12346 Dn Saraighat Exp, and 14055 Dn BP Mail.