Kolkata, Feb 21: In the backdrop of ongoing agitations in Haryana and Cooch Behar in West Bengal, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday, Feb 21 appealed to protesters to not block railway lines or harm railway properties as it causes inconvenience to the common people.
"We wanted to launch a project in Cooch Behar but couldn't do it due to the ongoing agitation there. So let me take this opportunity to tell all the demonstrators, who may have genuine grievance. They should not block the railway tracks for doing that," Prabhu said while addressing a program here.
"You can always have a right to demonstrate that's a democratic right, we respect that right. But we appeal to you that it is the common people of India who face most inconvenience," he added.
Pointing out that most of the people who travel by train have no other means of transportation, Prabhu said, "They (rail passengers) cannot fly because they don't have enough money, they even find bus travel more expensive than rail travel. "
Therefore I appeal to all my friends in West Bengal, Haryana, please don't block the railway traffic. Your grievances can be dealt with separately," Prabhu said.
Noting that Railways incurred losses due to these agitations, Prabhu said, "Because of the agitations in Haryana, Railways has lost a very precious property.Now we have to find that money as railways is under pressure to find the money. And if you burn it, forget additional facilities, the present infrastructure needs to be strengthened by piling more money. So please don't block railway tracks."
Rail services are severely hampered in Haryana with agitating Jats squatting on railway tracks at various places, leading to the cancellation of various trains. Prabhu today inaugurated the commencement of work for Sankrail-Satragachi Broad Gauge Link Line via Flyover, commencement of construction work of Underground Metro between Airport and Jessore Roads. He also introduced 14 additional metro services during peak hours.
Prabhu also talked about staggered office timing in order to take care of peak time traffic in a much better way.