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Heritage status demanded for Dibrugarh station

By Staff correspondent

DIBRUGARH, July 27 � The Dibrugarh Nagarik Sangha, the apex body of several local organisations here, has expressed shock over media reports about the inauguration of the Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia at a time when the Railway officials under the guidance of the Executive Director (Heritage), Railway Board, were in correspondence with the Sangha on granting heritage status to the Dibrugarh railway station.

The Dibrugarh railway station is the first railway station in the entire North East from which the first train steamed off to Dinjan on May 1, 1882. �As the railway line was opened to Dinjan only, Tinsukia was nowhere in the picture at that time. This history is from a book titled Indian Railways � The Final Frontier published by the NF Railways itself,� the Sangha reminded the NF Railways.

The Sangha noted that on the face of cancellation of the project to develop Tinsukia as a heritage station along with development of Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia by an NF Railways cancellation notice published in the July 24, 2009 issue of The Assam Tribune, the matter of granting heritage status to the Dibrugarh railway station was under discussion between the Railway authorities and the Sangha.

However, some Railway officials went ahead with the project of developing the heritage park and museum at Tinsukia without knowing the possible legal tangles, JN Borah, working president of the Sangha, alleged.

The Sangha during its meeting here condemned the whimsical attitude of some Railway officials in establishing the Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia, whereas the same should have been established in Dibrugarh. The meeting was presided over by the working president of the Sangha. The Sangha reiterated the demand for declaring the Dibrugarh railway station as a heritage station.

The Sangha has demanded of the NF Railway authorities to take adequate steps within 15 days to declare the Dibrugarh railway station a heritage station, drop the caption �heritage� from the name of the park and museum developed in Tinsukia and take steps to develop a full-fledged heritage museum and park here.

The Sangha further expressed concern over the suspension of work on updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Barpeta district by the Chief Minister after the violent demonstration by a minority students� organisation on July 21.

It expressed its surprise that the AASU and some political pundits accepted 1971 as the base year for updating the NRC, giving in to the demands of some pro-foreigner elements. The Assam Accord fixed 1966 as the base year for detection of foreigners as lakhs of Bangladeshi nationals migrated to Assam due to imposition of the martial law (from 1965 to 1971) in the erstwhile East Pakistan by the West Pakistani rulers and these people never returned to their homeland even after creation of Bangladesh in 1971 and unabated influx from Bangladesh into Assam continues even today, the Sangha said in a press statement.

Uninterrupted updating of the NRC taking 1966 as the base year remains the only safeguard for the indigenous people of Assam, according to the Dibrugarh Nagarik Sangha.

It has expressed doubt that the developments leading to suspension of the entire process of updating the NRC have been motivated by some pro-foreigner circles and may be a prelude to defeat the whole process of updating the NRC.

The Sangha has demanded of the State Government to restore the process of updating the NRC in the entire State immediately. The organisation has also requested the Purbanchal Nagarik Samiti to convene a meeting on August 8, inviting representatives from all the affiliate nagarik sanghas of eastern Assam to discuss the issue and take appropriate follow-up measures.

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