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Demand to expedite construction work

By AF Ashiqure Rahman

GOLAKGANJ, Feb 1 � A new BG railway from New Mainaguri, Mathabbanga, Chengrabandha, Coochbehar, to Jogighopa via Boxirhat-Dhubri-Gauripur and other places on the NH-31 is a priority need for lakhs of people living in the backward districts of Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar of North Bengal, Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and a part of the district of Kokrajhar in Assam and the districts of East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills in Meghalaya.

Approximately, more than 80 per cent of the population of these areas belong to poor section who have been living in extreme hardship for want of adequate avenues of livelihood, which is again due to socio-economic backwardness of the region as a whole. There has been no industrial development of the region mainly for want of adequate infrastructural facilities including railway communication network.

The eight districts referred to here are the most backward parts of the north eastern states. This is mainly due to regional disparities in the field of development. Therefore, it is not a surprising that the per capita income of this region is far below that of the national average as well as the respective state averages.

The meagre communication facilities available before independence were also stopped. This part of the country was connected before independence with the main land by the shortest possible rail route through undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Besides this rail link, the region was connected with Calcutta by a river route through the river Brahmaputra, Dhubri town being then the biggest inland river port with the said districts of West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya as its hinterland. Further, the two airports namely Rupshi, one of the biggest airports of NE, constructed during the 2nd World War and Coochbehar constructed much earlier remain unutilised even today.

Tazmul Hoque, joint convenor, New Mainaguri-Jogighopa Railway Demand Committee said that after independence all these communication links have been snapped and the people of this area have been virtually cut off from the mainstream of national life. Further, he revealed that the economy of the region is mainly agro based. Inspite of various constraints, there has been a spectacular increase in agricultural production, particularly in the districts of North Bengal.

All the districts of Assam, North Bengal and Meghalaya yearning for the proposed railway are very rich in forest wealth. Sal, Teak, Sishu, Segun, Bonsom, Gamari, and numerous other varieties of valuable trees grow in abundance in the extensive forests. Moreover, bamboo, cane, pati bet (a variety of cane used in making mat i.e. Sital pati), medicinal plants and herbs, orchids, resins and other varieties of plants and trees and other forest products are abundantly available in the forests of this region.

The region is rich in mineral resources also. Dolomite an essential raw material for production of cement and coal are abundantly available in the said two districts of Meghalaya. Dolomite is also available in the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal.

The vast agricultural, forest and mineral resources of the region could not be exploited properly to generate employment potentialities and to achieve economic progress mainly because of want of infrastructural facilities and communication network.

The proposed railway from New Mainaguri to Jogighopa and other places covers a distance of 270 km approximately passing through mainly highland. Thus, earthwork for construction of rail route is likely to cost much less as compared to other places. This proposed railway line will help optimum utilisation of the road-cum-railway bridge, Naranarayan Setu over the river Brahmaputra at Jogighopa. The total cost for construction of the proposed line is estimated to be Rs 1400 crore.

The proposed railway passing through the districts of West Bengal and Assam bordering Bangladesh, now a friendly country will be strategically important from the defence point for view also. The demand is justified in view of the fact that the per capita railway in this region is very negligible and much below the national average.

The demand for expansion of railway network in this region was raised at conventions in Tufanganj (Coochbehar district) and Bijni (Erstwhile Goalpara district) in 1961. The then general manager of NF Railway, late BC Ganguly took some initiative in this regard, but subsequently the matter was abandoned by the railway authorities for reasons best known to them. Recently the joint convenor of New Mainaguri-New Coochbehar-Dhubri-Jogighopa-Railway Extension Demand Committee Tazmul Hoque, submitted a memorandum to the Union Railway Minister for completing the construction works of the BG line immediately.

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Demand to expedite construction work

GOLAKGANJ, Feb 1 � A new BG railway from New Mainaguri, Mathabbanga, Chengrabandha, Coochbehar, to Jogighopa via Boxirhat-Dhubri-Gauripur and other places on the NH-31 is a priority need for lakhs of people living in the backward districts of Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar of North Bengal, Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and a part of the district of Kokrajhar in Assam and the districts of East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills in Meghalaya.

Approximately, more than 80 per cent of the population of these areas belong to poor section who have been living in extreme hardship for want of adequate avenues of livelihood, which is again due to socio-economic backwardness of the region as a whole. There has been no industrial development of the region mainly for want of adequate infrastructural facilities including railway communication network.

The eight districts referred to here are the most backward parts of the north eastern states. This is mainly due to regional disparities in the field of development. Therefore, it is not a surprising that the per capita income of this region is far below that of the national average as well as the respective state averages.

The meagre communication facilities available before independence were also stopped. This part of the country was connected before independence with the main land by the shortest possible rail route through undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Besides this rail link, the region was connected with Calcutta by a river route through the river Brahmaputra, Dhubri town being then the biggest inland river port with the said districts of West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya as its hinterland. Further, the two airports namely Rupshi, one of the biggest airports of NE, constructed during the 2nd World War and Coochbehar constructed much earlier remain unutilised even today.

Tazmul Hoque, joint convenor, New Mainaguri-Jogighopa Railway Demand Committee said that after independence all these communication links have been snapped and the people of this area have been virtually cut off from the mainstream of national life. Further, he revealed that the economy of the region is mainly agro based. Inspite of various constraints, there has been a spectacular increase in agricultural production, particularly in the districts of North Bengal.

All the districts of Assam, North Bengal and Meghalaya yearning for the proposed railway are very rich in forest wealth. Sal, Teak, Sishu, Segun, Bonsom, Gamari, and numerous other varieties of valuable trees grow in abundance in the extensive forests. Moreover, bamboo, cane, pati bet (a variety of cane used in making mat i.e. Sital pati), medicinal plants and herbs, orchids, resins and other varieties of plants and trees and other forest products are abundantly available in the forests of this region.

The region is rich in mineral resources also. Dolomite an essential raw material for production of cement and coal are abundantly available in the said two districts of Meghalaya. Dolomite is also available in the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal.

The vast agricultural, forest and mineral resources of the region could not be exploited properly to generate employment potentialities and to achieve economic progress mainly because of want of infrastructural facilities and communication network.

The proposed railway from New Mainaguri to Jogighopa and other places covers a distance of 270 km approximately passing through mainly highland. Thus, earthwork for construction of rail route is likely to cost much less as compared to other places. This proposed railway line will help optimum utilisation of the road-cum-railway bridge, Naranarayan Setu over the river Brahmaputra at Jogighopa. The total cost for construction of the proposed line is estimated to be Rs 1400 crore.

The proposed railway passing through the districts of West Bengal and Assam bordering Bangladesh, now a friendly country will be strategically important from the defence point for view also. The demand is justified in view of the fact that the per capita railway in this region is very negligible and much below the national average.

The demand for expansion of railway network in this region was raised at conventions in Tufanganj (Coochbehar district) and Bijni (Erstwhile Goalpara district) in 1961. The then general manager of NF Railway, late BC Ganguly took some initiative in this regard, but subsequently the matter was abandoned by the railway authorities for reasons best known to them. Recently the joint convenor of New Mainaguri-New Coochbehar-Dhubri-Jogighopa-Railway Extension Demand Committee Tazmul Hoque, submitted a memorandum to the Union Railway Minister for completing the construction works of the BG line immediately.

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