People were excitedly calling travel agents in search of alternatives. Someone was looking at the writing ‘cancel’ next to the name of one train after another on the display board of the stations. Someone was impatiently slapping his crying baby. After that, the man stopped the crying of the child and said to his partner, “Will I go home? Or will I stay at the station!”
Long-distance train commuters suffered similarly on Saturday in protests surrounding the proposed ‘Agneepath’ project for short-term recruitment to the army. Howrah, Sealdah and Calcutta station premises took such a look like the incident mentioned above. As soon as the news of the cancellation of the trains started coming, the waiting passengers started suffering from great anxiety. Some of them had been at the station since Friday morning to catch the train, while others had been there since Thursday night. There were also groups with whom the train left Kolkata but the railway authorities brought back the train due to protests. As a result, they have started waiting for the train to leave the city.
Arriving at Howrah station at noon on that day, the trains were cancelled. Some were forced to take shelter in the passenger waiting area of the station, while others laid down on the floor above bedsheets. One of the waiting passengers, Vijay Raut came to Howrah station from Baleshwar with his wife Sandhya and son Nibesh. They were supposed to catch the Kumbha Express at noon that day. But that train was cancelled. Vijay said, “I work for a tire company in Patna. I came to Baleshwar on holiday. If I can’t go back now, I have to go back to Baleshwar. How long will I stay at the station with my son and wife!” After that, he said, “I heard that there are a lot of protests on the way to Patna. Now I will go out to find out if I can get on the bus once.” As soon as Sandhya heard her husband’s words, she stopped him and said, “The boy’s face is dry. Arrange some food first.”
Possibility of jobless condition
Two long-distance trains from Sealdah station were also cancelled on the day. Ravi Mandal was supposed to go to Balia in Uttar Pradesh with his wife and one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. He said, “I went to a relative’s house in Medinipur. From there I got off the bus at Dharmatala and took a taxi to the station. Around one o’clock in the afternoon, the railway informed me that the ticket had been confirmed. But at about 3 pm when I reached the station, the message of cancellation of train came. “He then remarked, “I work as a driver in Delhi. The owner told me to come back quickly. I’m terrified that maybe I will be fired from the job.”
Pictures of the same suffering were there at the Calcutta station. The Jammu-Tawai Express was cancelled on that day even though it was supposed to leave the station. Due to which many passengers like Dinesh Mandal and Kartik Mandal fell into extreme misery.