FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
SILCHAR, Nov 14: After all the agitations and movements for early completion of Silchar-Lumding BG, the people of Barak Valley are now agitated at the contradictory statements of railway authorities about the specific date for start of passenger train services. The recent statement made by General Mager (Construction) of Northern Frontier Railway (NFR), H K Jaggi, during his visit to the valley to take stock of the ongoing works, in which he categorically ruled out the starting of passenger train services from November indicates that an uncertainty continues to bog down the movement of passenger trains on the newly laid BG track.
It should be mentioned here that the project was launched during the tenure of the then Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda who laid its foundation in presence of Ram Vilas Paswan, the then Union Minister of Railways, way back in April, 1996. But, the project did not take off as envisaged due to lack of foresight on part of railway authorities and ministers and has dragged on for years and is yet to be completed. The 6 month long mega block for the construction of the route began in October last year. But even after more than 7 months after the expiry of mega block, train services have not yet started.
In fact, after the leakage of Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) report in the media, there was lot of commotion and furor among people of this valley who began to question if at all the BG trains would operate. Though H K Jaggi ruled out any cause of concern at the CRS report which pinpointed several deficiencies in the newly laid track, particularly on the 31 km diversion, and said these would be overcome to run the trains.
The officials of Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) from Lucknow recently visited Badarpur junction where Silchar-Lumding BG Rupayan Sangram Committee members held a meeting with them. The officials simply told them that the passenger train services would resume shortly but did not give any specific time frame. To check the present state of affairs of the project, a seven member delegation comprising of Moloy Bhattacharjee, Pradip Kumar Deb, Komol Chakroborty, Abhijit Biswas, Dulal Chandra Das, Champak Lal Das and Panu Ranjan Dey of the Sangram Committee inspected the entire 210 km stretch of the newly laid BG track recently. They found glaring short comings in the works.
The members said that the railway authorities concerned seemed to have forgotten the promise they made to the people of the valley. The people of the valley have waited for 19 long years for the completion and starting of BG train services, but it now seems that it will take much longer time to meet the hopes and aspirations of the people. Besides Barak Valley, this train route is the lifeline of the adjoining states of Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura. The members said that the ventilation work in tunnel no. 9 is continuing at a sil’s pace. Criticizing the railway authorities, they said the N F railway has not worked properly in executing the project.
They pointed out that the people of the landlocked valley and adjoining states are caught between the closed railway route and pathetic conditions of the roads and highways connecting it with the rest of the country. They alleged that the transport lobby in collusion with the railway authorities is behind the delay in starting of the passenger train services. Even the owners of private transport companies have been given contracts for the construction of the BG route. The authorities are now giving preposterous explations and lame excuses for the present imbroglio.
The people of Dima Hasao district along with the people of Barak Valley and the adjoining states of Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura who have been eagerly waiting for passenger train services are now crest fallen. The members cautioned that the people would be left with no other altertive but to launch a massive agitation if the passenger train services are not started at an early date. This was informed by Bijit Kumar Sinha, member of the Sangram Committee.