Protesters halt train trial run in Qazigund

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Dec 27: Protesters today put hurdle in the trial run of the Banihal-Qazigund section of the Udhampur-Baramulla rail link by coming out in scores on the railway track near the longest transportation tunnel of the country in Qazigund area of South Kashmir.
Scores of women and men from village Hillar, 4 kilometres from Qazigund stopped the locomotive, which was chugging from Qazigund Railway Station towards Banihal, just outside the tunnel on Qazigund side.
The villagers demanding a halt station in Hillar village refused to allow the dry run as they were demanding assurance that the station would be constructed in the village. On getting information about the protest, senior police officers reached the spot but the villagers refused to budge. They said that they would not allow the dry run on the track as they were promised that the village would have a station.
“Railway authorities faced the protest as they had failed to give prior information to the Anantnag district civil as well as police administration”, sources said, adding “had there been prior information arrangements would have been made to prevent the people from coming on the track”.
Stating that halt station was long pending demand of the villages, sources said, “this demand was also brought to the notice of concerned authorities of the Railways a number of times and they had assured to sympathetically consider the same before the opening of the Qazigund-Banihal sector”, adding “as there was no decision on their demand the villagers found it appropriate to lodge protest before Member Engineering, Ministry of Railways, who is here for the trial run to personally take stock of the work completed on the track particularly Asia’s longest transportation tunnel”.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, Farooq Ahmad said, “the concerned authorities of the Railways should have given prior information to the administration about the trial run on Qazigund-Banihal Section”.
“We are trying to amicable resolve the issue and convince the villagers to allow trial run on the section in view of the assurances given by the visiting Member Engineering, Ministry of Railways that the demand of villagers would be vigorously pursued at the appropriate forum”, he said, adding “we are hopeful that Member Engineering would be able to conduct trial run on Qazigund-Banihal section tomorrow”.
Meanwhile, sources in the Railways Minister said, “people should not create problem in the opening of this section as the same is meant for them only. The construction of halt station depends upon the feasibility”, adding “Member Engineering would try to conduct trial run tomorrow provided the administration ensures that there is no protest from the villagers”.


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