GUWAHATI, Aug 26 - The Assam Rail Passengers� Association (ARPA) has accused the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) of ignoring services of the local and short-distance trains and focusing excessively on premium long-distance trains for the sake of improving punctuality.
�NFR officials are claiming that punctuality of the zone has improved. But the reality is that NFR is focusing only on certain long-distance premium trains and �Down� trains heading from this area to other parts of the country. Those trains are leaving on time. But what about local trains like the Alipurduar-Lumding Intercity or other such trains in which thousands of daily commuters travel to and from Guwahati? Such local trains are always late,� said Dipankar Sharma, ARPA secretary.
He said there have been many examples when the Alipurduar-Lumding Intercity was halted inordinately just before Guwahati to facilitate movement of the �Down� North East Express and the �Up� Saraighat Express.
It is noteworthy that the NFR recently claimed that punctuality performance of the zone has improved during recent months.
It said punctuality has improved from 67.21 per cent in April to 69.46 per cent in May to 76.3 per cent in June and finally to 81 per cent in July. The overall punctuality during the four months of this fiscal stood at 72 per cent.
The ARPA, however, dismissed the claims of NFR.
�The trains running within the zone are hardly ever on time. The railway authorities have a lackadaisical attitude towards local trains. The General Manager of NFR is reportedly personally monitoring punctuality of ten major trains. Why not all trains are being monitored by him,� said Sharma.
�Doubling of tracks in the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri section was proposed years ago but is still awaiting clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Similarly, a terminal at Agyatuhri has been sanctioned but work is yet to start. At times, it takes some trains even more than one hour to reach the Guwahati station from the Kamakhya station,� added Sharma.