An over 30,000 people, mostly Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims, were stranded at various places between Lakhanpur to Jammu and Katra town following suspension of rail service from here to elsewhere the country since Friday.
Nearly 50 trains trains including 23 moving from Jammu and Katra stations were cancelled on Saturday, said Divisional Traffic Manager of the Northern Railways, Naveen Kumar here. At least 18 trains from Jammu and Katra stations were cancelled on Friday as well, he added.
The cancellation of train services came in the aftermath of large scale violence in parts of Punjab and Haryana that followed a CBI court on Friday holding Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Ram Rahim guilty of rape.
While a sizeable number of passengers had moved to local hotels and sarais, between 5,000 to 6,000 were putting up at Jammu railway station and another 3,000 occupying the platforms at Katra. Similarly, a large number of passengers were waiting at railways stations between Jammu and Lakhanpur waiting for resumption of train service.
To help stranded passengers who included women and children, various NGOs and railway staff have set up camps at some places providing them food and milk. At Katra railway station, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and some NGOs provided lunch to stranded passengers, while railway staff along with some locals arranged dinner for them at Jammu railway station, said Naveen Kumar.
About the restoration of rail services, he said that it all depends on situation in Punjab and Haryana. “We are waiting for instructions from higher authorities in this regard,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the interstate bus service from Jammu was limited only upto Jalandhar as bus operators were not prepared to move beyond in view of disturbances ahead.