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At least seven pairs of local trains in the Sealdah main section of Eastern Railway were cancelled today owing to a rail roko agitation by a group of people protesting enhancement of ladies compartments. Train services on the Sealdah-Ranaghat main line section were affected owing to obstruction at Kanchrapara and Halisahar stations from 8.16 am and 9.10 am respectively in protest against enhancement of ladies compartments in EMU local trains, Eastern Railway spokesman R N Mahapatra said. The protests led to cancellation of seven pairs of local trains, while several other locals were delayed. Thousands of commuters were affected owing to the agitation during the peak office hours. Normal services could be restored only after the obstruction was lifted at 12.03 pm, Mahapatra said. Train movements were, however, maintained between Sealdah and Naihati stations in the section during the period of obstruction, he added. "Enhancement of ladies compartments were made on the basis of demand of the passengers and in consultation with Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) and other passengers' associations," he said. A section of passengers, however, claimed that the enhancement has come at the cost of reduction of a general compartment in each train, leading to more congestion of passengers in the already overcrowded trains.
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