The Railways said on Friday it has suffered a loss of Rs 2,220 crore, including Rs 67 crore in passenger revenue, due to the ongoing protest by farmers against the Central farm reform laws. The protests, which began on September 24, have affected 3,850 freight trains which could not be loaded. As many as 2,352 passenger trains have been cancelled or diverted so far, it said.
The deadlock between the protesting farmers and the Railways continued with the national transporter rejecting a proposal by the protestors that only freight trains will be allowed to run in the state. "The revenue loss due to cancellation of passenger trains is Rs 67 crore.
Farmers in Punjab, Haryana block roads as part of nationwide protest against farm laws
The Northern Railways, which caters to the region, incurred a revenue loss of Rs 891 crore with an average loss of Rs 14.85 crore daily. From October 1 to November 19, the Railways' freight loading suffered losses due to cancellations of trains and many being stranded in the outskirts of Punjab meant for Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir carrying essentials.
The Railways said around 230 loaded rakes for Punjab are currently held up outside the state. This includes 78 rakes of coal, 34 of fertilizer, eight each of cement and petroleum, oil and lubricants and 102 containers carrying steel and other commodities. Around 33 rakes are stuck in Punjab itself, it said.
Goods trains have not entered Punjab for one-and-a-half months now, except for two days in late October, leading to a shortage of essential goods, including fertilisers needed for wheat sowing and coal supplies for thermal plants. Farm leaders say they have vacated the tracks, but some protests still continue at stations.
The Railways has maintained that it needs full guarantee from the state government that no trains will be disrupted and both passenger and freight trains be allowed to operate. The farmers, however have said that while they will allow goods trains, they can give no guarantee for passenger trains.
The farmers are protesting three farm-related bills passed by the government recently.