Pulwama villagers block rail line, demand halt

Pulwama Railway StationPulwama: People from various villages in Pulwama district today protested against the Railways authorities and blocked the track throughout the day today, demanding a halt station near Ratnipora village.

Residents from Ratnipora, Puchal and Gulbagh villages, led by the Citizens Council, gathered at the railway track in the morning, blocking all Banihal-Baramulla trains.

Protesters said they had been demanding a halt station for Ratnipora since the tracks were being laid in the Valley.

“We have visited every office from the district administration to the Railways but it did not yield any results, forcing us to block the rail track,” said Mohammad Yasin Andrabi, a resident of Ratnipora village.

Andrabi said they had formed a Citizens Council which had met the Divisional Railway Manager in Ferozpore and he had assured them that a halt station would be built in the village.

He further said that many top Railways officials had visited the spot in Ratnipora since last year to assess its feasibility for a halt station but nothing had been done despite huge sizeable state land available for it.

Residents said the area had a good working population but the rail network was of no benefit to them due to the absence of the halt station.

“We have contributed huge paddy and horticulture land for the railway track. Ironically, we cannot take the benefit of it,” said Shabir Ahmad, a youth from Gulbugh village, adding that if a halt station will not come up near Ratnipora, they will continue to disrupt the rail line.

The protesters dispersed after the Railways authorities promised them that a halt station would be build at the site.

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