Blockade brings Telangana train traffic to standstill

Hyderabad, July 14 (IANS) Rail movement in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh came to a standstill Thursday as agitators demanding a separate Telangana state stopped several trains as part of a 12-hour long rail blockade that has virtually snapped rail links of south India with other parts of the country.

Leaders and activists of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which called the blockade, squatted on the tracks at various places to stop the trains, officials said.

Railways have already cancelled 31 express and 116 passenger trains, partially cancelled 20 express and 14 passenger trains, rescheduled 23 and diverted 23 express trains.

The South Central Railway (SCR) has also cancelled all 51 DHMU (Diesel Hydraulic Multiple Unit) services in Telangana and MMTS (Multi-Modal Transport System) trains in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Passengers had a tough time as protestors belonging to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other constituents of JAC blocked the movement of trains at several places in Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda districts.

The Delhi-Hyderabad Dakshin Express was forcibly stopped at Ghatkesar near Hyderabad early Thursday. JAC convenor M. Kodandaram and BJP leader Indrasena Reddy were among the leaders who participated in the rail blockade at Ghatkesar.

The Tirupati-Secunderabad Narayanadri Express was forced to stop at Chityala in Nalgonda district.

The Tirupati-Secunderabad Padmavati Express and the Vizag-Hyderabad Padmavathi Express trains were stopped by protestors at Bibini Nagar.

Railway and state police arrested over 150 protestors at various places.

The movement of goods trains has also been hit in Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts, affecting the transport of coal produced by the state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited.

The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is operating special buses for the stranded railway passengers.