NR suspends operations in Valley indefinitely3 August 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Following massive damages to trains and other infrastructure at the hands of violent mob during the past several days, the Northern Railways has suspended all its operations in Kashmir valley for indefinite period and sent over 125 fear-stricken employees on leave till further orders. Official sources told the EXCELSIOR that after analyzing the prevailing situation in the Kashmir valley where the violent mob has been attacking railway stations and torching the bogeys and other infrastructure for the past several days, the Northern Railways yesterday issued directions to senior officers of Ferozepur Division to keep all operations in the Valley suspended for an indefinite period. The Ferozepur Division, under whose jurisdiction Qazigund-Baramulla railway line falls, was also directed to consider the leave of its non-Kashmiri employees posted in the Kashmir valley as reports indicated that fear-psychosis has gripped them due to spiraling violence, sources said. Accordingly, all the non-local employees were asked to avail leave initially of seven days with the directions that in case prevailing situation persists, they should seek extension in leave, sources said, adding that on the advise of the Northern Railways about 125 non-local employees left Valley in different buses arranged with the assistance of security forces and civil administration and reached Jammu Railway Station this morning for onward journey to their respective destinations. A number of these employees were putting up in Valley along with their families and faces of women and children were clearly depicting the fear-stricken atmosphere they had experienced during the past several days. Narrating the situation they had gone through during the past nearly one month, while waiting for their respective trains in a cafeteria at platform number one of Jammu Railway Station, they said, 'we were facing shortage of basis amenities due to prevailing situation besides severe threat to our lives. Our children and women were the most fear-stricken as every time there were sounds of gun-shots and slogans against the security forces'. 'It was very difficult to save our lives as on one side we were facing acute shortage of ration and on other side there was risk of losing life while venturing to come out of our accommodation', Ramesh Kumar, ESM posted at Srinagar Railway Station, said. R S Gill, Additional Traffic Manager, Ferozepur Division, who had come to Jammu to enquire about the condition of employees, arrived from Srinagar, said, 'we donít know the intensity of damages caused to the track, trains, railway stations and other infrastructure as it is very difficult for our employees to move out of houses'. 'We would be able to resume our operations in Valley only after improvement in the situation and subsequent assessment of damages and repair of the same', he said and failed to give any specific time-frame for the restoration of operations and return of the employees. Sources said that during the past nearly one month around 1200 labourers engaged for the creation of security related infrastructure, have left valley along with their families as due to suspension of work in view of prevailing situation they were finding it difficult to earn livelihood and were virtually on the verge of starvation. The fleeing of the labourers will lead to delay in the creation of security related infrastructure for the General Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF), sources said.