West Midnapore (West Bengal), Apr 27 (ANI): Suspected Maoists blew up a railway track near Midnapore town in West Bengal's West Midnapore District on Tuesday, disrupting rail services in the region.
The incident took place on the second-day of the two-day shutdown call given by the rebels in the three states of West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand demanding release of six Maoists, who were arrested earlier.
Train services in the Kharagpur division have been affected by the incident. ue to the impact of the blast, rail slippers were blown off and a huge crater was created below the tracks at Puturia between Midnapore and Bhadutala stations.
Railway officials, the bomb squad and security personnel have rushed to the spot and repair work of tracks has already begun. A land mine was also found near the tracks.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had on April 23 said attacks on railway property have doubled during 2009.
Replying to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Banerjee informed that the railways has lost over Rs 500 crore due to disruptions by Maoists. Railways has become a target of Naxals," Banerjee said.
"We have lost Rs 500 crore because of Naxal bandhs and obstructions," she added.
Banerjee informed the House that the Naxals targeted railway property 58 times in 2009, while there were 30 incidents reported on attack on railway property by red rebels.
She said that 56 incidents were reported in 2007.
Banerjee said it was impossible to man every inch of the 65,000 kilometers rail route.
"Whatever we can do in our jurisdiction, we do," she said. We appeal to all State Governments to take some precaution so that we can run trains," Banerjee added.
In her reply, Banerjee emphasized that law and order was a state subject and railways could do very little with the limited Railway Protection Force.
Banerjee assured members that the Raiways would take steps to protect its security.
"Measures are taken for safety and security of trains like running of Rajdhani and other passenger trains," she said.
"However, there is no decision regarding capping the speed of all the Rajdhani and other super-fast trains," Banerjee added.
During the period of naxal attacks, bandhs and rail roko, running of trains are badly affected.
She said trains were attacked mostly in states of-- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
"There has been adverse impact on operations, freight loading and passenger traffic on a localised basis during bandh calls and other threats in vulnerable areas," Banerjee said.
Railway Zones like-- Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Danapur of East Central Railway, Asansol, Malda of Eastern Railway, Ranchi, Adra, Chakradharpur and Kharagpur of South Eastern Railway, Waltair, Sambalpur of East Coast Railway and Guntakal, Secunderabad and Guntur of South Central Railway are mainly affected by the Maoists attack. (ANI)