Alipurduar: Train movement between the Northeast and the rest of the country came to a halt early on Friday morning as supporters of a Rajbongshi outfit squatted on the tracks in Assam’s Kokrajhar station for nearly eight hours demanding a separate state of Kamtapur.
Regular train services were halted and many trains, including the Rajdhani Express, remained stranded at different stations of north Bengal and the Northeast.
Sources in the Northeast Frontier Railway said 20-odd long-distance trains got delayed and 12 local trains were cancelled because of the blockade by the All Koch Rajbanshi Students’ Union (Akrasu).
Administrative officials in Assam reached Kokrajhar and persuaded the agitators to withdraw the blockade.
“They had planned to continue the blockade for 12 hours, that is till 5pm. The officials, however, managed to persuade them to withdraw the protest at 12.40pm,” a source said.
Some of the trains that got held up for hours before moving on were the Guwahati-bound Trivandrum Express, the Dadar Express, the Kamrup Express and the Rajdhani.
This is the second rail blockade on the Northeast route in eight days. On March 22, supporters of the Adivasi National Convention Committee had blocked tracks in Kokrajhar for around seven hours to demand Scheduled Tribe status for some of the communities.
With repeated blockades hindering train movement on the route, passengers sounded aggrieved.
“It has become a regular feature these days to stage a rail roko. The Assam government, the Centre and the railways should look into it. Every time thousands of passengers suffer because of the blockades,” said Hariprasad Sharma, a businessman travelling to Guwahati.
Railway authorities conceded that the number of blockades had increased.
Recently, the NFR published a data mentioning that in the previous two years there were 324 instances of rail roko by different organisations, mostly in the Northeast.