West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday claimed rail services were curtailed to stop people from attending her rally, even as the Railways maintained that it was running a number of special trains in addition to the ones scheduled for the day.
Speaking at the annual Martyrs’ Day rally, she asserted that “nothing, however, could prevent her supporters from attending the programme”.
“The Railways has curtailed services to stop people from attending the rally. We do not have enough resources to hire a rake… Several people were thwarted from coming to the city today. Nothing, however, prevented my supporters from joining the programme,” she said.
The TMC supremo had also on Saturday accused the central government of trying to foil the rally by operating only 30 per cent of the trains usually run on Sundays.
“I have heard that the railways will not operate the usual number of trains tomorrow at the behest of the BJP. I have information that they will run only 30 per cent of the trains usually run on Sundays. This is not right,” Mamata Banerjee had said.
However, the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern and South Eastern Railway, which operate train services in West Bengal, said they were providing additional services, anticipating the rush of passengers.
An Eastern Railway official said several special trains were being operated in the Sealdah and Howrah divisions.
“In Sealdah division, eight special trains and a pair of Sunday-exempted train were scheduled for the day, in addition to the extension of a Sealdah-Sonarpur local up to Diamond Harbour,” he said.
In Howrah division, 11 special trains were plying in different sections and four Sunday-exempted trains have been put into service, he said.
“Moreover, two nine-coach EMU trains have been kept ready at Sealdah main and central to respond to any exigencies,” the official said.
The Eastern Railway has also made arrangements for an additional general second-class coach in four express trains bound for North Bengal, the official said.
The additional coaches would be attached with 13149 Kanchan Kanya Express, 13147 Uttar Banga Express, 13163 Hatey Bazare Express and 13145 Radhikapur Express, he added.
Sources in the South Eastern Railway said it was running more EMU local trains than it normally does on a Sunday and has almost maintained a week-day schedule.
There was no disruption in services during the day, they added.
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