Rs 9 crore losses by shutdowns and damage during the period
ANANTNAG: Since July 2016, the suspension of train services in Kashmir-for over 250 days-and regular damage to infrastructure has inflicted a loss of more than eight Crore Rupees to the northern railways.
As per official records the longest suspension of the train services in Kashmir followed the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, on July 9, 2016.
The train services were suspended across Kashmir valley and remained completely shut for more than 150 days, till November 17.
Following the closure, the train services remained partially suspended for another 12 days, on account of maintenance.
Subsequently, the train services have remained suspended for over 70 days in 2017 and more than 45 days in the first five months of 2018.
“Suspension of train services on a single day causes us a loss of over three lakh rupees, which means only suspension of services in the past three years has inflicted a loss of over 7.5 Crore Rupees on the railways,” a senior railway official told Kashmir Reader.
He said the suspension was not the only way losses were inflicted on the railways.
As per the records more than 1000 windowpanes of the trains have been smashed during stone pelting, these three years, with a single glass pane costing around 5000 rupees.
Also, railway tracks have suffered extensive damaged during these years.
Apart from other things around 1,50,000 Elastic Rail Clit’s (ERC’s) have gone missing from the railway tracks, as per records.
“This clit costs around 55 rupees a piece. Which means a loss of around 82 Lac Rupees,” the railway official said, “Also the front windshields of many trains have also been damaged. That windshield costs around 50,000 rupees each,”
What makes these damages even more costly is the fact that Kashmir railway sector is not connected to other parts of the Northern Railways.
“We get these spare parts supplied from either Chaar Bagh depot in Lucknow or Shakoorbasti depot in Delhi. To other parts of the country these spare parts are transported by train but to Kashmir, these parts need to be transported, Jammu onwards, in trucks which makes them costlier,” the official said.
Unable to get the spare parts transported to the valley in time, the railways now uses makeshift arrangements to mend the damages.
Like hundreds of window panes-of trains in Kashmir-are now covered with ply-wood sheets as the glass panes are yet to be sent in by the Northern Railways.
Other spare parts, sources say, are also sent in bits and pieces making maintenance of trains a hectic affair.
“I don’t blame the department. The losses are too huge actually. You can calculate a loss of more than 9 Crores on your finger tips and this kind of loss is not taken into account anywhere in India,” the railway official lamented.
Now to prevent the losses the authorities have been curtailing rail services- at the proverbial ‘drop of the hat’
While suspension of services prevents trains from getting damaged, other infrastructure is always vulnerable.
“Like earlier this month some protestors damaged a costly signal system between Panzgam and Bijbehara railway stations, causing us damages to the tune of more than eight lakh rupees,” the railway official said, “I don’t think there is a way to prevent this kind of damage in Kashmir”