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Passengers� body concerned at slow progress of track-doubling project

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 4 - The Assam Rail Passengers� Association (ARPA) has expressed concern over the slow pace of progress with regard to doubling of rail tracks in the NF Railway zone.

Dipankar Sharma, secretary of ARPA, said that doubling has been sanctioned for lines with much less capacity utilization in other states of the country even as Assam and rest of the Northeast have been deprived.

�As per NFR�s own figures, the utilization of the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri-Kamakhya section around three years back was 167 per cent. By now, it must be at least 180 per cent. Many new trains have been introduced in recent years, which use that section. Yet, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has kept the proposal for doubling of the section pending for years,� said Sharma.

He added, �We have noted that doubling of rail tracks in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, along with electrification, has been sanctioned for lines where capacity utilization is much less than of the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri-Kamakhya section. Why are Assam and the Northeast always deprived?�

He said that the pressure on the section will grow further once the Bogibeel bridge is commissioned.

Sharma alleged that the railway authorities at times announce projects without sanction of the NITI Aayog or Cabinet approval and that creates confusion in the minds of the common people and raises false hopes.

�Why is NFR mum about the status of the Agyathuri terminal when Guwahati is facing such a severe terminal constraint? Now they are talking about a second railway bridge over the Brahmaputra river at Saraighat. We all have been demanding such a bridge but the NFR should specify if the second bridge has been sanctioned by the NITI Aayog,� said the ARPA secretary.

He also called for stoppage of the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express at the Rangiya junction.

�The NFR has already recommended that and the matter is pending before the Railway Board. We demand that the Rajdhani Express should have a stoppage at the Rangiya junction for the benefit of the people from the North Bank areas. Such a measure will also ease congestion at the Guwahati Railway Station,� said Sharma.

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