Thousands of people from dozen villages in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Friday blocked the rail line near Ratnipora for the day, demanding construction of a halt station for their convenient travel. People from Ratnipora, Puchal, Gulbagh, and other villagers today morning gathered at the railway track and blocked all passenger trains coming to and from on the Banihal-Baramulla track. Led by Citizens Council of the area, the protesters said that they have been demanding halt station for Ratnipora from the time railway track was being laid in the Valley. “We have met all the officials from DC office Pulwama to Northern Railways in Ferozpore for our demand. Early this year, some respectable members of the Citizen’s Council went to Divisional Railway Manager in Ferozpore where the officers concerned assured us that they will built a halt station for the area here,” Mohammad Yasin Andrabi, a senior resident of the area, told KNS. As per district officials, the area has a huge working population that does not take advantage of the rail line because of the absence of the halt station. A Revenue official in Pulwama told KNS that the area has contributed huge paddy and horticulture land for the railway track but, ironically, for them railway is useless. “From the last year, many top officials of the railways visited the spot to assess its feasibility for a halt station. The spot has considerable Kah Charie land available for the halt station,” Andrabi said. He said that the “irresponsible” attitude of the Northern Railways is compelling the people to protest and block the track and create inconvenience to the passengers. Later, General Manager Railways, Kashmir, assured the protesters to build a halt station at the spot.
2015 Kashmir Despatch