As power, water crisis deepens, protesters halt train at Jammu railway station

Facing severe water shortage and rampant power cuts, angry Jammu residents today stopped a Delhi-bound passenger train at the citys railway station, delaying it by over 20 minutes, police said. As the Swaraj Express was departing for Delhi, a large number of people from the nearby railway colony gathered at the platform and began agitating in front of the train to press for their demands of adequate water and power supply, police officials said. The protesters raised slogans against the authorities and demanded immediate restoration of water supply to the colony, they added. Police and paramilitary forces had to be called in to remove the agitators from the platform. In the meantime, efforts were made by the authorities to pacify the crowd, which agreed to let the train depart after a delay of 20 minutes. In other parts of the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, angry traders and residents, including children and senior citizens led by Jammu West Assembly Movement (JWAM) President Sunil Dimple, held a protest rally on Janipur High Court road. The group threatened to intensify their stir if the citys Power Development Department (PDD) and the Public Health Engineering (PHE), responsible for power and water distribution respectively, do not iron out the kinks in the supply within 24 hours. Jammu is facing long duration power cuts and water supply has been badly affected for the last four days, Addressing the protesters, Dimple alleged that people in the city were spending sleepless nights due to power outages that lasted between 15 and 18 hours. The condition of patients, aged people, children and women is very bad. Despite assurances by Power Minister Sunil Sharma, unscheduled power cuts continue to remain frequent, he said.