TEZPUR, March 7 � A citizens� meet was held recently at the Sahitya Sabha Bhawan here demanding conversion of Tezpur�s Jahajghat Railway Station into a broadgauge rail station.
It may be mentioned here that the metregauge railway station constructed during the British regime had fallen into a state of disrepair after the railway service was curtailed. The citizens� meet, presided over by noted lawyer Iskey Alom was attended by more than 200 people from across the district.
The meeting, among other things, demanded re-opening of the Tezpur Jahajghat metregauge railway station after being converted into a BG rail station, besides adopting a number of resolutions. A committee comprising 23 senior citizens of the town was constituted to press the authorities on the matter. The members of the committee are Iskey Alom, Jiten Chundi, Jamini Kumar Baisya, Dulumoni Sinha, Bipin Kotoki, Tarnath Gujrel, Ashok Kumar Sharma, ex-MLA Jiban Bora, advocate Ananta Goswami, social worker Pulin Bhattacharya, reputed businessman, Abdul Munnaf and Subarmal Baidya.
Moreover, there were demands for a Tezpur-Silghat train service, flyover at Tezpur Mission Chariali, regular flight from Tezpur-Salonibari airport to other parts of the country, etc. To put pressure on the authorities, another committee titled Rajahua Sartha Surakshya Samiti with Iskey Alom, as adviser, Jiten Chundi as president, Dr Jaisankar Hazarika and Rijawl Haque as vice-presidents and Pulin Bhattacharya as general secretary was also formed in the meeting.
It may be mentioned here that the Tezpur Jahajghat Railway Station was constructed in 1895 and had a narrow-gauge railway line constructed by TBR (Tezpur-Bindukuri-Rangapara) company. With the passage of time, and surface communication gaining importance, including railway service, and water transport facilities becoming less important following the highly braided Brahmaputra river becoming shallow due to the devastating earthquake of 1950, the narrow gauge railway line gradually gained priority in various spheres, including providing easy means of transportation to the common people of the northern belt of the State.
Obviously, tea leaves which were once exported through the waterways had to accept this narrow-lane railway line for transporting the same to Kolkata. However, as a result of this the narrow-lane railway was converted into a metregauge line. But till the recent past, the metregauge railway service continued with the running of only two regular passenger trains and monthly 2 to 3 rack goods carrying trains. At the same time, a section has alleged that the Railway Department's properties like quarter and land have been encroached upon.
At this juncture, under the initiative of the then commissioner of north Assam, an important meeting was held on June 13, 2004 at the DC�s conference hall in the presence of socially active people of the town and officials of the departments concerned. Based on resolutions adopted at this meet, a project of widening of this stretch of the road from Dekargaon to Tezpur Jahajghat was taken up. In later years, a local body christened Sonitpur Zila Nagarik Mancha submitted a representation to the then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee.
At the same time, a PIL was filed at the Gauhati High Court in reply to which the NFR informed that every measure to remove the railway line in the interest of widening of the road and close the station at Dekargaon will be taken. Interestingly, another PIL was filed on October 4, 2013, at the Gauhati High Court regarding resuming of the Tezpur Railway Station, which has remained defunct.