The recently inaugurated Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express was the talk of the town when it was launched and flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30 and commercial service began on January 1.
Only a couple of days after the express started functioning, the coaches of the express suffered damages after window panes of the train were found broken on Tuesday, January 3, reportedly as a result of stone-pelting in North Bengal, a railway official told news outlets. This was about 24 hours after a similar case was reported the day before.
The incident happened only a day day after a similar act of vandalism occurred on Monday, January 2, when the glass pane on a coach door cracked as a result of stone pelting.
Before the Vande Bharat Express arrived at New Jalpaiguri station on Tuesday, January 3, the afternoon, an official reported that one window pane in each of the train’s two carriages had been broken.
The earlier case of vandalism was reported from Malda on Monday, January 2 while the second incident was reported to have taken place in New Jalpaiguri. Allegedly, the stones were pelted on the NJP bound train at around 1:20 PM.
In addition to filing a FIR in connection with the occurrences, a campaign to raise awareness of them has also been launched, the official said.
On January 3, at about 5.57 pm , train no.22302 DN (Vande Bharat exp) arrived at MLDT . On checked found stone pelting mark on the glass surface of coach no. C-3 and C-6. On enquiry it came to know that in the morning around 13.20 hrs, while the said train was going in the up direction towards NJP, before arriving NJP in yard area the stone pelting incident happened in both C-3 and C-6 coach. The same incident of stone pelting had been taken place yesterday i.e 02.01.2023 at Kumarganj stn under RPF/POST/SAMSI, DIV-Katihar, NFR, as a result a case had been registered by Samsi post u/s- 154 of Rly act,” stated the RPF release.
“Investigation into the incident is being conducted by RPF along with state GRP and state police. RPF has also started awareness campaigns in some areas so that stone pelting cases can be stopped,” Sabyasachi De, CPRO, Northeast Frontier Railway told the Mint.
“FIR against unknown persons lodged under sec 154 of Railways Act in connection to stone pelting at Vande Bharat Express train at around 1.30 pm on Jan 3 while it was moving towards New Jalpaiguri due to which glasses of C3 & C6 coaches were found broken,” CPRO NF Railway further said.
According to officials, the train, which travels 564 kilometres in 7.45 hours, will save three hours of travel time compared to other trains on the route. It will stop at three points: Barsoi, Malda, and Bolpur.
Speaking at the launch, PM had said, “Today’s Vande Bharat train was launched from the land where ‘Vande Mataram’ slogan was coined.”