GUWAHATI, May 10 � Delayed implementation of a key project of NF Railway has affected thousands of commuters in at least two vital routes. The Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains which were supposed to link Guwahati with Western and Eastern Assam would need at least six months more before a train can make its maiden run.
However, no one in NFR can daresay when the trains will eventually serve passengers in the Brahmaputra Valley as support infrastructure is non-existent in Guwahati as well as other destinations to be served by these sophisticated trains.
This comes out in stark contrast with the scene in West Bengal and Bihar, where some of these trains are in operation with their maintenance being carried out in Siliguri. Passengers from Malda, Katihar, New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are all being served by DEMUs as of now.
DEMU trains have become popular in high passenger density corridors as they have power cars on both ends and after reaching their destinations can pull out of the station without the need to detach or attach a locomotive. Each of the passenger coaches can seat more than 100 passengers and accommodate standing passengers as well.
Moreover, they can accelerate and de-accelerate faster than trains with conventional locomotives enabling speedier travel over shorter distances.
It was a few years back that the trains were announced, but in the absence of maintenance infrastructure and trained personnel, these trains could not be introduced, said well placed sources in NF Railway headquarter in Maligaon.
A maintenance shed is being built at Pandu, but progress is evidently slow. According to different sources in NF Railway, major infrastructure work is yet to be carried out before the facility can be up and running. An official in the engineering division revealed that the work progress so far is only 30 per cent, even as another source claimed that the shed could be completed by August this year.
Significantly, the project saw a sanction of Rs 3.98 crore in the first phase, and another Rs 18.04 crore in the second phase. But, it is clear now that with further delay there would be more escalation of costs covering the project.