Guwahati, Monday, May 22, 2017

Train services affected as job aspirants go berserk at NJP
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, May 21 - Long-distance train services to and from Assam and the North Eastern region were disrupted severely today after a huge group of aspiring job candidates rampaged through the New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station this morning and destroyed railway property worth lakhs of rupees.

 Senior officials at the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) headquarters at Maligaon here told The Assam Tribune that operation of almost all long-distance trains to and from the region were affected for many hours due to the rampage and violence at NJP.

The NJP station falls under the Katihar Division of NF Railway.

Thousands of young job aspirants from different parts of Bihar and West Bengal had gathered at different places in North Bengal for Grade D posts exams, which were held by the West Bengal Government on May 19.

Since yesterday, the candidates had converged at various railway stations in the North Bengal area to head back to their respective destinations.

Thousands of such candidates were at the NJP station this morning when heavy showers came and many of the job aspirants tried to board the Avadh Assam Express, which was, at that time, waiting at Platform No.1 of the station.

When RPF and GRP personnel tried to bring order and prevent the job aspirants from boarding the train in such large numbers, the youths went berserk and started to target railway property, NFR officials said.

They not only damaged the engine and AC compartments of the Avadh Assam Express but also caused massive damage to the entire NJP station.

Additional forces, including Army and BSF personnel from a military special train, which was also at the station, were deployed but the mob fury continued.

NFR officials, however, added that no passengers were hurt in the violence.

“The job candidates targeted only railway property. They did not cause any trouble to the passengers,” said an official.

Railway authorities finally arranged a special train to ferry the thousands of job aspirants and the situation calmed only after an announcement to that effect was made through the public address system.

NFR officials said almost all trains to and from the Northeast, including the Rajdhani Express, were controlled at different places due to the incident at NJP.

“Most of the trains are running late by many hours. However, all the services have been restored and train running is expected to be normal by tomorrow morning,” said an official.

NFR authorities have blamed the West Bengal Government for not issuing an advisory regarding the Grade D recruitment.

“Generally, local authorities and the state government always issue advisory whenever such exams or other events are planned. That allows us to make arrangements for special trains. However, the West Bengal Government did not do so and the railway authorities were, therefore, caught unawares,” said an NFR