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Efforts on to resume night train services in phases

Special Correspondent

They were suspended after Jnaneswari Express derailment

KOLKATA: Efforts are under way to resume in phases night train services, traversing a 150-km stretch in Maoist strongholds in West Bengal and Orissa, that remain suspended for more than three months now.

Talking to reporters after a meeting on railway security at the Secretariat here on Tuesday, senior officials of the West Bengal government and those in charge of railway security said: “We are trying to work out measures to resume night-train services in phases.”

Home Secretary Samar Ghosh said the Director-General (Rail) and the Railway authorities would meet next week in Kharagpur to discuss the matter. The feasibility of running escort trains would also be considered.

At the meeting, a presentation was made on a technical solution to detect sabotage of rail tracks. “This needs to be examined,” Mr. Ghosh said. Asked whether mine-proof coaches were being considered, he said explosions were not the only threat the trains were facing from the rebels. “Lines could be dug up. No system can be foolproof.”

A stretch between Kharapur in West Bengal and Rourkela in Orissa and the Kharapur-Adra section passes through the Maoist-affected areas . Night train services were suspended after the Jnaneswari Express derailed in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district, killing 150 persons.

The RPF deployment was expected to be completed by next year, Mr. Ghosh said.

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