23 trains cancelled ahead of Telangana rail blockade

Monday, February 28, 2011

HYDERABAD - The South Central Railway (SCR) Monday night cancelled 23 trains between Hyderabad and other destinations in view of Tuesday’s rail blockade in Telangana called by groups demanding separate statehood for the region.

Hyderabad-Delhi AP Express, Yeshwantpur-Secunderabad Garib Rath, Vijayawada-Secunderabad Satavahana Express, Guntur-Vikarabad Palnadu Express, Tirupati-Hyderabad Rayalaseema Express, Guntur-Secunderabad Golconda Express and Gudur-Secunderabad Simhapur Express are among the key trains cancelled.

The SCR also plans to divert some trains like Bangalore-Gorakhpur Express. It also announced cancellation of all Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) trains (local trains) in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad Tuesday.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement for a separate state, has asked people to stop the trains by squatting on the tracks in the entire region, comprising 10 districts, including Hyderabad.

The JAC, which includes the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other regional groups, is demanding that the central government introduce a bill for formation of a separate Telangana state in parliament.

Telangana leaders of the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have also declared their support for the rail blockade.

JAC convenor M. Kodandaram said the daylong programme would begin at 6 a.m. Tuesday and bring the movement of trains to a complete halt. He appealed to people to make the programme a success by squatting on the tracks in every village.

The SCR, which has its headquarters here, operates many trains through Telangana, connecting cities like Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.

Both police and railway authorities have warned the protesters that strict action would be taken against them if they resort to attacks on passengers or railway property. The police will patrol important trunk routes and beef up security at railway stations to prevent any untoward incidents.

Director General of Police Aravinda Rao said police were making all arrangements for protection of people and property. The district police, the Government Railway Police Force and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) are jointly coordinating the arrangements.

He said information and past experience show that there is likelihood of sabotage to railway tracks with fish plates being removed and signal equipment being tampered with or destroyed. These can result in serious accidents, causing great loss of human life.

“Cases will be booked under the Railway Act, 1989, in addition to IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections of law. Punishments under the Railway Act will be more rigorous for offences like stoppage of trains, squatting on railway track etc,” the police chief said in a statement.

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