Train coaches torched in Bihar (Lead)

June 1st, 2009 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Patna, June 1 (IANS) Coaches of two passenger trains were set ablaze, rail lines uprooted and the Khusrupur railway station in Bihar’s Patna district was ransacked by a mob Monday to protest the East Central Railway’s decision to not halt any express train at the station.
The running of nearly a dozen trains on the Danapur-Howrah and Patna-Barauni routes was disrupted following the incident and hundreds of passengers stranded at different railway stations.

Police said hundreds of people set fire to three coaches of the Danapur-Jainagar Intercity Express and one bogie of the Rajgir-Danapur Express in Khusrupur, about 35 km from here. However, no casualty was reported.

The protesters also uprooted rail tracks, disrupting traffic on the Patna-Mokama route.

Khusrupur residents resorted to violence in response to an announcement by East Central Railway last week that express trains will no longer stop at the station.

A East Central Railway spokesperson said a decision to resume train services to Khusrupur has been taken in view of the violent protest.

“A high level meeting of top railway officials of ECR is underway to take stock of the situation after violent protest by local people that caused heavy damage to the railway properties,” a source in the railway said here.

According to railway sources, there are nearly 250 legal halts and over 100 unauthorised ones in the five divisions of the ECR. All these halts were created during the tenure of three previous railways ministers from Bihar - Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan.

Against 89 stations in Danapur division, there are 140 halts and at least four dozen illegal halts.

The Railway Board asked the ECR last week to examine the economic viability of the halts and to close them down, if they are found uneconomical.

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