GUWAHATI, July 22 � The Guwahati Railway Station infrastructure is not enough to handle the needs of railway passenger traffic to-and-fro the city and to facilitate better management of train traffic. It is feasible to set up two new additional terminals at Kamakhya and New Guwahati.
The Assam Rail Passengers Association (ARPA) general secretary Dipankar Sarma told The Assam Tribune that setting up of at least one, and even two, new terminals in the city would not only allow better management of train services and facilitate passenger convenience but also facilitate growth in suburban services.
�The Railway Board should immediately look into it. It would be worthwhile if a new terminal is set up at New Guwahati where local and suburban trains from Upper Assam can be terminated and started from and similarly another at Kamakhya for services from Lower Assam. The Guwahati Railway Station can be dedicated for long-distance trains,� he said, adding that the models of Delhi, Mumbai and Patna could be replicated.
Sarma said in Delhi, the Anand Vihar station is the terminal used for trains from Eastern States, while the Nizamuddin station is used as terminal for trains from South India.
�We can replicate the model in Guwahati as well. It will help in growth of suburban services and also lessen discomfort for passengers who at times have to bear inordinate delay between Kamakhya and Guwahati stations and so on,� Sarma said.
He said that the Railway Board should also fast-track the project for double-tracking of lines in Assam.
�Already the project cost of double-tracking has escalated by over 150 per cent at many sections. The projects have at many places not been fully operationalized and this has hampered the growth of Railway infrastructure in the State and he entire North Eastern region,� said Sarma.
He added that while people in the North East have equally shared the burden arising out of the rising passenger fare and freight charges, the region is yet to benefit from the latest innovations and modernization in the Railways.
For expansion of suburban network, which can boost the revenue for the Railways here, a terminal in Sarbhog can be a major boost and facilitate local passenger movement in Lower Assam, he added.
�It can be a focal point for suburban services from Lower Assam where trains can be halted and serviced for the night and serve in both directions towards Guwahati and Kokrajhar. This way Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) will be able to operate daily morning trains which can reach Guwahati around 9-10 am and passengers can return after completing their official, medical, educational and other works by late afternoon or evening,� Sarma said.