Indian Railways: West Bengal’s first Vande Bharat Express train from Howrah to New Jalpaiguri created much drama on its launch day, and even prior to that! And why wouldn’t it? The train covers the distance of 564 kms in just 7.45 hours, cutting the travel time by 3 whole hours!
However, the incidents of stone pelting have cast a shadow over the glory of this Vande Bharat Express. 24 hours after the first stone pelting incident at Malda, for which BJP demanded an NIA investigation, the second incident took place on January 2, around 1.20 pm at New Jalpaiguri station. While there is a lot of politics simmering over these cases, there is also a lot of praise that the Express train is gathering from passengers amid the drama.
What is the Indian Railway doing to avoid stone-pelting incidents on Vande Bharat?
In an attempt to curb such incidents in the future and ensure the safety of the passengers, the Railway Protection Force and Northeast Frontier railway organised an awareness drive for nearby villagers of Kumarganj railway station to especially sensitise them about the stone pelting on trains. The villagers were also asked to inform RPF/GRP, in case anything unusual occurs or any irregularities are noticed by them. The RPF and GRP are currently looking into both incidents and the investigation is going on. CPRO, Eastern Railway, has already confirmed that an FIR was lodged against the unidentified stone pelters.
No break! Ticket booking continues without any hassle
Before the train kicked off its journey from Howrah station, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director Rajni Hasija told PTI that the Howrah-NJP train was a hit as tickets were flying off the shelf. The scenario hasn’t changed even after the stone-pelting incidents. A railway official confirmed with financialexpress.com that the tickets are already booked till January 4, 2023. The IRCTC website shows that there has been no break or slowdown in ticket booking speed as almost all the seats are already booked for January 5, 2023.
This is the seventh Vande Bharat Express across India and the first one from the Eastern region. Vande Bharat trains are already running successfully to Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and New Delhi. The Indian Railways plans to launch as many as 400 trains in the next three years.