GUWAHATI, Sept 3 � Recently in the news for unenviable incidents, Assam has now earned the dubious distinction of having the highest number of agitations affecting train traffic this year.
According to NF Railway sources, the protest actions in different forms have on many occasions halted the movement of passengers and vital commodities, which do not just affect Assam but other parts of the Northeast which depend on train services.
Although some train traffic continues during minor protest actions, their functioning is hampered by the absence of feeder services mostly provided by cars, buses and trucks in the case of cargo movement.
Most of the disruptions are for a day or less, but in the immediate aftermath of the violence in BTAD and other parts of western Assam, disruptions caused by violent mobs interrupted train traffic for nearly three days.
Till July 31, a worrying total of 132 such protest actions took place in the State, and the impact of many was felt in the movement of passenger and goods traffic. Its effects on the local economy has also been felt from time to time, and is believed to have abetted price rise in the seven sister states of the Northeast.
In this May alone there were 26 disruptions affecting the movement of trains in Assam. Train traffic, during the month, was impeded by 16 bandhs, three rail roko, and seven dharnas in different parts.
Senior officials of NFR affirm, �Disruptions in train services have been caused by a number of organisations, many of which have small support base. They choose trains as it is the softest target available.� They also held a section of the media responsible for giving undue publicity to bandh calls in Assam.