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Rail blockade in Punjab might affect army supplies in Kashmir, Ladakh

Army has started supply of essential items for the troops on the Northern frontiers through road as Indian Railways has temporarily suspended their services in the Punjab Region because of the ongoing protests and rail blockades.

Seeing the ongoing protests against land bills, the Indian Railways suspended railway services in the Punjab. Captain Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab, had warned that the suspension will not only affect the state’s farmers and industry and neighbouring state’s people but also the supply of essential items to soldiers in Ladakh and Kashmir.

A senior Army officer said that sufficient reserves are already present and the rail blockade will not cause any significant harm. Moreover, because of Coronavirus pandemic special military trains for exercises and field firing are not taking place.

Major General Yash Mor (retd), who was until recently Chief of Staff of a Corps and raised the Ladakh Sub Area a couple of years ago, said that all winter stocking for Ladakh is over. There is sufficient stock dumping of necessary stores, clothing and food items etc which is then moved up as per necessity. It is a very finely tuned cycle, and in any case generally the movement of supplies takes place via road. Any further supply which needs to be done for forward areas is done by air once the roads are blocked because of snowfall after late October.”

A senior official in the Northern Railways admitted that some goods trains meant for army supplies were delayed in the last 50 days. Railway officials have contacted army officers who told them that even though they have already done advance dumping of ration, arms and ammunition clothing, and equipment, still there are some day-to-day requirements.

A Northern Railways official said that “around 20 trains with army supplies were affected after the Rail Roko was started by farmers in Punjab. These were not special trains for army, but general trains carrying items for the army,”

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