GUWAHATI, Feb 24 - Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora today urged the Union Railway Minister to bring about a change in the approach of the Railway Ministry towards the NE region.
In a memorandum to the Railway Minister today, the AGP chief said that the Union Government should not confine its efforts to benefit the NE region with the introduction of one or two new passenger trains or expansion of the operational areas of the existing trains in the region.
Pointing to the failure of the Central Government to introduce double railway tracks in the region, Bora said this has been affecting the speeds of the existing passenger trains. The number of goods trains has also remained limited in this region due to this factor. This is one of the major reasons for the short supply of foodstuffs in the region, besides other socio-economic problems.
Railway was introduced in Assam in 1881 for the transportation of tea and coal from the State to other parts of the country and the world. The Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway headquarters was set up at Maligaon on January 15, 1958 and it has now five divisions � Lumding, Tinsukia and Rangiya in Assam, and Katihar in Bihar and Alipurduar in West Bengal. The divisions in West Bengal and Bihar have been depriving the Assam job-seekers and therefore, there is a need to reorganise the NF Railway taking Srirampur as the western boundary of its territory and covering the other NE States, Bora said. He also demanded a special regional railway recruitment board for the NF Railway with its headquarters in Guwahati for conducting recruitment under it.
Moreover, Bora called for steps to lay the 183-km long second BG line between New Bongaigaon and Agyathuri as per the proposal of the 2013-14 Railway Budget, setting up of a training institute for railway recruits in Assam, urgent steps to set up a railway coach factory in Guwahati, completion of the second Saraighat Bridge and the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra within a time frame, laying of railway lines to connect Sivasagar with Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Dergaon, Chaparmukh and other places, opening of two full-fledged terminals at Kamakhya and New Guwahati to reduce the load of passengers and rail traffic on the Guwahati Railway Station and introduction of suburban passenger train services around Guwahati and Dibrugarh for the benefit of commuters travelling to and from these two important urban centres of the State.
Bora also called for steps to introduce electric trains in the State. He also demanded urgent steps to raise the number of goods trains in the NE region, steps to construct railway flyovers and make the exposed railway level crossings in the State safe.