NEW DELHI, March 15 � The functioning of the NF Railways came under close scrutiny in the Lok Sabha, as members belonging to the region decried the inordinate delays in completion of railway projects, including the national projects in the North-East, and demanded detachment of North Bengal and Bihar from the NF Railway.
Participating in the discussion on the Railway Budget, MPs hailing from the North-East criticised the Railways on several grounds ranging from stagnating project works to lack of passenger amenities.
Participating in the discussion, Ram Prasad Sarmah said that the need of the hour is also to totally detach the NF Railway from Bihar and Bengal. The people of Assam certainly deserve a coach building factory in Guwahati. The Bogibeel Bridge was supposed to be completed in 2009.
There is no guarantee as to by when this rail-cum-road bridge will be completed. Assam and the North-East have been the most neglected areas during the last 70 years, Sarmah said.
Joining the discussion Sushmita Dev charged that the Railways should not use incomplete projects as an excuse for not starting new lines. The Barak Valley project was declared in 1997-98, but people are in the dark about what the Railways is going to do about connecting Agartala and Bangladesh and Chittagong and Myanmar.
This Government plans to make an ambitious railway line, which is called the Diamond Quadrilateral, but the North-East does not figure in it.
�There was a provision in our vision document 2020 for connecting all the capitals of North-Eastern States,� she said.
Participating in the discussion, Gaurav Gogoi said the Railways has a social mandate because many towns and villages are disconnected from the railway grid. For a State like Assam, it is important that the Railways connect upper Assam and central Assam through the Numaligarh-Jakhalabandha railway line, he demanded.
Ramen Deka, in his speech said that Assam remains isolated and the Government must be aware of the fact that Assam is in a strategic point geographically. If anything eventually happens with China, it is not possible to move the Army through a narrow National Highway.
�So, we need connectivity, we need broad gauge. I would request the Government to introduce a Jan Shatabdi from Dekargaon to Guwahati. I would like to demand again that D-category posts must be reserved for the local people,� he said.
Participating in the discussion, Badruddin Ajmal said even after 67 years of independence, the North Eastern States are yet to be connected with the railway network properly. �As I come from Assam, I can give many examples of such projects that crossed several deadlines for completion,� he said.
In his speech, Radheshyam Biswas said during the Railway Budget 2008, the Government had approved electrification of the Barouni-Guwahati rail route, but nothing concrete in that direction has happened so far.