On July 25, Bharatiya Kisan Union and several other organisations had called for a nationwide strike, a Bharat Bandh, protesting against the three bills relating to the agriculture sector passed in the just concluded Parliament session. The call for Bandh was supported by the Congress party. Most of the protests were seen in Punjab, where the ruling Congress government is joining the protests Although the bills bring much-needed changes to the farm laws that are extremely beneficial for the farmers, which were proposed by the Congress party also when they were in power, now they are opposing the bills for political purposes.
As part of the protests, the protesting organisations also announced ‘rail roko’ protests. But it seems there was no impact on the movement of trains, as there no drop in the amount of freight carried by Indian Railways yesterday.
According to data provided by the Railways, total freight loading by the railways on 24th September was 3.42 MT (Million Tonnes), which was 26% more than the same date last year. The Indian Railways earned ₹326.42 crore yesterday from freight operations, an increase 19% compared to last ₹273.37 crore in the last year same day.
In fact, Railways saw an increase in freight volume during the Bharat Bandh compared to the previous day. On September 24, the loading volume was 3.4 MT. The same for Friday in the last week was 3.19 MT. This shows that there has been a steady increase in the freight carried by the Railways, the farmers strike had no impact on its movements.
The Railways have moved 83.74 million tonnes of cargo in the month of September till 25th, earning a revenue of ₹8,071.20 crore. The volume in the same period last war was 273.37 MT and the revenue earned was ₹7230.63 crore. This shows that the freight volume has grown by 19%, while the revenue increased by 12%.
This year has seen a significant increase in the speed of goods trains. The average speed of the trains for the month stands at almost 47 kmph, almost double from the last year’s average of 24 kmph. Absent of most passenger trains due to the lockdown, and improvements made to the tracks taking the opportunity of less train movements, are the main two main reasons for this increase in average speed of freight trains. This has ensured that different places in the country get essential commodities and other items get much sooner than earlier.