GUWAHATI, Jan 17 - The Assam Rail Passengers Association (ARPA) has called upon the State government and MPs from the State to take a proactive stand with regard to local issues and projects in the run-up to the Railway Budget.
It has also asked the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to initiate a round of public consultations regarding issues related to rail network and infrastructure in the region.
Dipankar Sharma, general secretary of ARPA said that ministers and officials from various states have been visiting New Delhi in recent weeks and meeting the Railway Minister and senior ministry personnel to press for demands related to their respective states.
�Similarly, MPs from various states have been meeting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to submit memoranda regarding new projects. However, our own State government has shown no such interest and the MPs elected from Assam are also mum. This is really unfortunate,� Sharma said.
He added that while preparing the budget, the Railway Ministry always seeks feedback from various sources and stakeholders.
�If the Assam government and MPs elected from our State do not take an initiative to convey the demands of our State, we will lose out during this year�s budget with regard to development of railway infrastructure, new projects and expansion of the rail network,� Sharma said.
He also blamed the NFR for adopting a lackadaisical attitude in this regard. �In other railway zones, various programmes like interactive sessions to discuss issues and needs of the zones have been taken up. Recently, a big meeting was held by the South Central Railway at Vijaywada to discuss the budget process and on what demands to be placed before the Railway Ministry. But in the NFR, no such steps have been taken so far even as only a little more than a month remains before the Railway Budget is tabled in Parliament,� said the ARPA general secretary.
He called upon the Prime Minister to look into the matter of railway infrastructure in the north-eastern region.
�Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again said that development of the North East is among the prime focus of his government. As he will be visiting Assam on January 19, we hope that he will also find some time to speak about the railway sector�s development for the State and the rest of the region,� Sharma said, adding that issues like double-tracking and timely completion of ongoing railway projects in the North East deserve urgent attention.