Railways and NHAI report huge losses due to agitations by farmer unions over agri laws
Parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal, UP, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh come under the five divisions of Northern Railway, which reported maximum loss of over Rs 22.58 crore.
NEW DELHI: Agitations by farmers have resulted in big losses for Indian Railways and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the Parliament was told on Wednesday. Replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said more than 1,000 trains, originating and passing through various zones were obstructed in the protests by farmers that resulted in a loss of over Rs 264.63 crore up to October. According to the minister, train movement was disrupted in 15 of the 18 zones of Indian Railways.
Parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal, UP, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh come under the five divisions of Northern Railway, which reported maximum loss of over Rs 22.58 crore. Eastern Railway was second, having suffered losses to the tune of Rs 3.34 crore. For the South Eastern zone, this figure was Rs 2.61 crore.
In another reply in Parliament, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that the NHAI has suffered a revenue loss of Rs 2,731.32 crore due to farm protests in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The protests started affecting toll collection from October, 2020. Initially, toll plazas in Punjab were made non-operational by agitating farmers in October, 2020. It spread to neighbouring Haryana and parts of Rajasthan. Overall, 60 to 65 nahional highway toll plazas were affected. While toll booths in Punjab lost Rs 1,269.42 crore, it was Rs 1,319.6 crore in Haryana and Rs 142.3 crore in Rajasthan.
“Further, NHAI invited bids for 14 non-operational fee plazas in the Rajasthan based on assurance from local administration and two plazas were awarded on 03.09.2021 and 07.09.2021. However, these plazas also could not be operated due to the farmers’ protest. In case the protest is called off, NHAI, as an exigency plan, has directed regional offices to mobilise skilled/semi-skilled manpower instantly and operationalise the fee plazas to avoid revenue loss,” said Gadkari.