Inflated taxi cost : Taxi operators have been demanding Rs 35,000 for a trip to Delhi. Station authorities told us to come tomorrow. Where will we stay? Suraj Singh, Shmedabad resident
No assistance: We have been stranded here since yesterday. No one is listening to us. Bihari Lal, Chhattisgarh resident
Many passengers, including pilgrims, were stranded at Jammu and Katra railway stations on Friday as seven trains were cancelled and 13 diverted due to a ‘rail roko’ agitation by farmers in different parts of Punjab.
Members of several farmers’ bodies began their three-day agitation on Thursday to press their demands such as a financial package for losses caused by the recent floods, legal guarantee to the MSP and debt waiver. As part of the protest, farmers squatted on train tracks in many places, including Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar.
“Due to this agitation, some trains have been affected but 60% to 70% of the trains are being run through diverted routes. Officials have been put on duty round the clock to monitor train traffic and ensure minimum inconvenience to passengers,” senior railway official Prateek Shrivastav said. Railway officials said 13 trains had so far been diverted and seven cancelled due to the agitation. Shrivastav said the agitation had directly affected Ambala and Firozepur railway divisions.
According to the official, every day, 15,000 to 20,000 people arrive at the Katra railway station. “Of them, 70% are pilgrims. Due to this agitation, some trains have been affected and majority of the trains are being diverted to ferry them,” he said.
However, the number of stranded passengers at Jammu and Katra railway stations are increasing. They say say they are being inconvenienced. “We are stranded. We don’t know what to do. We would have reached home. But now they are saying that trains will be diverted…. It is a problem for us,” Arvind Kumar of Gorakhpur said.