GUWAHATI, June 2 - There has been a rise in crime in the entire area covering Fancy Bazar, Lakhtokia, Athgaon, Bharalumukh and Machkhowa even during the current lockdown.
Locals and the business community of the greater area attribute the rising crime rate to the encroachment on the entire stretch along the railway tracks from Railway Gate Number 2 to Railway Gate Number 4 near the Athgaon flyover. They have urged the Kamrup (M) administration to immediately rid the nearly 2.3-km stretch of encroachment. �This area witnesses crimes such as snatching of money, mobile phones and jewellery almost on a daily basis. Some criminal gangs of the area are engaged in such crimes,� a trader near Railway Gate Number 4 said.
The locals and the business community have been raising their concerns regarding criminal activities in the area for many years now.
Convener of Guwahati Samaj Kalyan Committee, Nakib Iman Saikia said, �The locals and the business community had informed the police and even protested vociferously against the illegal activities in the area. After the widespread protests, the crime rate had come down, but it has shot up again.� He said, �Some hoodlums construct huts on the vacant railway land near the tracks and let these out on rent. There should be regular police vigil to stop such activities.�
Tony Das, a former member of the Divisional Railway User Consultative Committee Lumding Division, had also filed a complaint with the NF Railway last year regarding the encroachment, calling for its removal. According to him, some criminal gangs in the area are engaged in drug peddling, smuggling and prostitution. He has called for a proper probe into the matter.
A source in the Kamrup (M) district administration said that complaints against encroachments on railway land are not new. �On a routine basis, the police and railway police personnel demolish temporary shelters and shops, but the encroachers return and rebuild these structures,� the source added.