GUWAHATI, Dec 9 - The Assam Rail Passengers� Association (ARPA) has called upon the Railway authorities to refrain from permanently cancelling the operation of any of the local and long distance trains which operate in or to and from Assam.
�It has come to our knowledge that the Railway Board has directed various zones to undertake some changes in the Zero Base Time Table and that as part of it, 13 pairs of regular trains providing service to commuters in Assam are to be cancelled permanently. We oppose such a move as it will severely impact mobility in the State and deprive the ordinary commuters,� ARPA secretary Dipankar Sharma said.
He added, �As per the document we have accessed, which is dated December 3, the 12086/12085 Dibrugarh-Guwahati Shatabdi Express, the 15771/15772 Alipurduar-Kamakhya Express, the 55817/55818 New Bongaigaon-Guwahati Passenger, and the 15911/15912 Tinsukia-Naharlagun Express are among the trains which will be cancelled. This is really unfortunate. How can the Railway Board take such a decision without consulting all the stakeholders?�
Sharma said that these trains have been providing important service to people of the State.
�Take the example of the 55817/55818 New Bongaigaon-Guwahati Passenger. Its departure and arrival timings in both directions were perfect. All these years, it provided good connectivity for regular commuters between the districts of lower Assam and Guwahati. The arrival of the train in Guwahati was timed in a way that passengers could avail onward connectivity to upper Assam in the Guwahati-Ledo Intercity,� he said.
He claimed that commuters are already facing problems as local train services continue to remain suspended in Assam since the first nationwide lockdown in March.
�What the railway authorities should do is to resume services of all the existing local trains immediately. That is the demand of the commuters of Assam,� Sharma said.
On being contacted, officials at the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), however, denied that any decision has been taken to cancel the 13 pair of trains on a permanent basis.
�An exercise on rationalising passenger services across the country is going on, including in Assam. It involves studying demand and passenger usage in a particular section, among other things. However, so far no final decision has been taken to cancel any train on a permanent basis. If and when any such decision is taken, we will inform the general public through mass media,� a senior NFR official said.