Close to 1,000 commuters blocked railway tracks at several stations in West Bengal, including Mallickpur, Baruipur, Sonarpur, Ghutiari Sharif and Diamond Harbour stations in the Sealdah South Division of the Eastern Railway, for about three hours on Thursday. The protesters demanded that local train services be resumed in the state as early as possible and till that does not take place they should be allowed to board staff special trains.
According to the police, the demonstrators claimed that they have been facing hardships to reach their workplaces in absence of public transport.
The agitators also pelted stones at a vehicle of the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Mallickpur station in the Sealdah-Baruipur section. Hundreds of others squatted on the railway tracks at Ghutiari Sharif in the Sealdah-Canning segment when the personnel of Railway Protection Force (RPF) did not allow them to board staff special trains without valid document. This disrupted the movement of staff special trains; a senior police officer told the local media.
Following the requests of the GRP personnel, the blockade was lifted after around three hours.
Services of all local, suburban and EMU trains have been suspended in the state since May 5, after the Covid-19 cases shot up during the second wave. With no availability of public transport, many people are forced to find unusual alternatives to travel.
Around 11 am on Wednesday, a police team had stopped a pickup van at a traffic signal on Outram Road that was ferrying people headed for work towards Esplanade. The cops told the passengers to find any other mode to travel instead of hiring an unauthorised vehicle. Many people hop on to such vehicles after paying a heavy fare to the driver. After the passengers were forced to get off the vehicle on Wednesday, they had to walk the last stretch since they could not find any other alternative.