SILCHAR, Dec 18: Appreciating the move of the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Sarbanda Sonowal, and other higher railway officials for introducing the first passenger train from here on BG route, Proactive Senior Citizens’ Forum of Silchar has demanded express trains for Delhi, Kolkata and other metropolitan cities of the country. In fact, it is the aspiration and expectation of the people of the remote and hinterland areas of Assam, Tripura Manipur and Mizoram which the Forum would like to articulate in its representation to the Railway Minister.
It was reminded that for long there have been two pair of express and passenger trains running on the British made MG between Silchar and Guwahati. The lone passenger train now chugging on the BG track both ways is uble to meet the rush of passengers, resulting in its overcrowding and discomfort to the travelling public, it was pointed out. The newly laid broad gauge at an estimated cost of more than Rs.5000 crore has raised many hopes among the people to have faster and easy journey. They could hardly forget the long and arduous railway journey on MG.
Apart from all the discomfort of travelling in a crowded lone passenger train, the introduction of more trains would not only provide the passengers the type of journey they expect but also eble them to forget the nightmarish ride of the past. The Forum has pinpointed the ill-timed timetable of the passenger train introduced which is most inconvenient for the passengers. The train leaves Silchar early in the morning of 5 am. During this foggy and chilly winter, it is very difficult for the travelling public to come from their different destitions to the station on time. For those coming from the rural belts, it is more difficult in the absence of vehicles to carry them.
The ghost of motor transport lobby continues to haunt many. Since the day and night super buses have been hard hit in their roaring business, it is suspected that the lobby might be behind the timing. It was this lobby which was accused of delaying the Silchar-Lumding BG construction and completion beyond its target date. The Forum has reached out to the Railway Minister to reschedule the timing by advancing the departure time of the passenger train at 8 am. It is a matter of surprise that no local trains for plying to Badarpur, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Haflong have been introduced which could take off the load of the passenger train as the overcrowding is due also to the local passengers, preferring journey by rail. The road and highway conditions compel local passengers to board the passenger train, may be for a short distance.
The Forum at the same time demands introduction of passenger trains to Haflong and Lumding. If there are constraints created by any lobby inside or outside the railway department, the Railway Minister is urged upon to identify them and to take effective steps to remove it. The Forum has further pleaded for the running of at least two mail or express trains and provide connectivity of this region to the mainstream of the tion. This will benefit the people of northeast as a whole and pave the way for economic development. Prof. Dilip Kumar Dey, secretary of Proactive Senior Citizens’ Forum, has signed the representation which was e-mailed to the Railway Minister today.