The train is scheduled to pass through the Bankimnagar Halt on Monday from where the bombs were recovered. The railway authorities have further tightened the security for the train.
According to police sources, locals of Bankimnagar spotted a jute bag lying beside the track. When they opened up the bag they found 12 crude bombs and immediately informed Dhantala police station. Following this, senior Government Railway Police (GRP) officials rushed to the spot along with a bomb disposal squad. The area was cordoned off and a huge contingent of GRP personnel was posted at the station. The incident has raised questions regarding the security of the train.
The Railway Police Force, however, linked the bomb seizure to forthcoming panchayat elections. “There is no threat at all. There were some local tensions between political parties with the panchayat elections being round the corner. It was a result of that,” said K Arun Jothi, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF, Sealdah.
Meanwhile, in Kolkata preparations were afoot for the Monday's high profile function when the train will be flagged off.
The blue rakes got its finishing touches at the Tullah rail yard on Sunday with a fresh coat of paint was applied. The terminal has also received a facelift for the event. The platform has been cleaned with new chairs installed. New electronic display boards have also been installed to announce the schedule details of the train.
A chamber for security check of passengers was set up yesterday, while a room for X-ray check of passengers’ baggage is being prepared.
The security personnel at the terminal are on round the clock vigil of the station premises. They have been asked to come in crisp uniforms. A separate identity card will be issued to the RPF personnel, who have been deployed during the running of the train service. The security area has been cordoned off with placards asking visitors to keep out of the security area. A security exercise with sniffer dogs will be carried out on early Monday morning.
On Sunday, the third and closing day of the ticket booking for the train, the sale of tickets dwindled to only 65 even though all the tickets for the AC first class coach were sold out on the day one itself. The train has a capacity for 368 passengers.
A senior railway official cited the delay in fixing the date for sale of tickets as a possible cause for the poor sale. “The advertisements for the train were published at the last moment. We expect the people's response to pick up during the subsequent runs,” he said.