Maoist shutdown badly affects life in Ranchi, railway track blown up in Dhanbad

     The second day of the Maoist-called 'All India Shutdown' continued to disrupt general life in Ranchi city, even as the rebels blasted a railway track in the State's Dhanbad district. On Thursday, the Maoists blew up the track between Tetulmari and Nichitpur stations. Train services have been disrupted due to the Bandh and some train services have been halted for the time being. "We received information that the incident took place between 1 or 1.15 a.m. last night. We were told by the railway station authorities that there was a sound. The RPF (Railway Protection Force) and the local police were then informed. They came to examine the site and found that the railway track was damaged by a bomb blast. And since then the up and down train services have been shut down," said Anand Sagar, Divisional Railway Manager. The incident has disrupted the trains plying from Dhanbad to Gaya (Bihar) railway station. Other trains that have been affected are Doon Express and Mumbai Mail. The trains are currently stationed at Dhanbad, Gomo and Parasnath stations. Meanwhile, in Ranchi, Praveen Kumar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, said that a meeting with the people from the Maoist-affected areas and the police would be called to plan a strategy for dealing with such shutdowns in the future. "There is a fool-proof arrangement from my side that nothing is affected by the shutdown. We are trying to assure the locals and the people involved in business not to fear anything. We have also called a meeting of the whole district wherein for the first time we are calling people from the Naxal (Maoist) affected villages," added Kumar. People say that the revenue of the State has plummeted due to the shutdown. "We face a lot of problems. Firstly, there is loss of revenue and secondly the drivers stop elsewhere. The drivers don't want to buy oil saying, 'Why should we buy oil from Jharkhand?' and instead say, 'We'll buy it from outside the State'. This affects our sales as well," said Ram Kishore Prasad, a petrol pump manager. Truck owners and drivers fear that their trucks will be burnt down by the Maoists, and say that such shutdowns will affect their income. "Our trucks get burnt and due to this fear we don't drive. We have parked our trucks until the shutdown is called off. Shutdowns and other problems of the state have increased the poor people's woes. How are we to earn our livelihood? How will the poor eat food and save their lives," said Sitaram Yadav, a truck driver. The 48-hour nationwide shutdown called by Maoists on Wednesday (July 7) is to protest against the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azaad in Andhra Pradesh. Maoist attacks have increased this year, especially after the government launched a coordinated security offensive with paramilitary outfits. This counter-insurgency operation has involved thousands of police personnel trying to flush out the rebels from their jungle hideouts in central and eastern India. The year has seen 22 days of shutdown so far by the Maoists.

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