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Rail passengers� body urges Centre to approve track doubling

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 1 - The Assam Rail Passengers' Association (ARPA) has urged the Centre to immediately approve doubling of the track in the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri section and to start work in this direction without any delay. ARPA has sent a memorandum to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in this regard.

�Rangiya is the gateway to the north bank of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and extreme Upper Assam. It is a junction station located in the New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section. From Rangiya to Murkongselek, there is a branch line section of about 500 km long which links Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and other areas near the China border, and after commissioning of the Bogibeel Bridge, it will be the shorter route from Dibrugarh to New Delhi. Hence, utilisation of the New Bongaigaon-Rangiya-Agyathuri main line section will be much higher than its present position. Even now, the Line Capacity Utilisation (LCU) is nearing 200 per cent," said ARPA.

It said in 2013, this section was considered for double tracking in the Railway Budget.

�Though people of Assam were very much optimistic, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs' (CCEA) approval has not yet come, delaying commencement of work,� said the Association, calling for immediate approval of the project by CCEA and commencement of work on the ground.

It said an abandoned metre-gauge (MG) line is lying idle parallel to the existing main line and it could be easily converted into a second broad-gauge line.

ARPA has also called upon the Railway Ministry to take other steps for the development of infrastructure and facility in this part of the country.

The Association has demanded immediate steps for sanctioning a new rail-cum-road bridge at Saraighat over the Brahmaputra.

ARPA has also demanded realignment of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone and creation of a separate zone for the northeastern region exclusively by carving out other parts. It said the parts of West Bengal falling under the NFR zone can be merged with the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Railway and the portion falling in Bihar can be merged with the Hajipur-headquartered East Central Railway. "Our State government also stands by this suggestion," said the Association.

ARPA said despite approval from the NFR General Manager, the Railway Ministry has not yet given its nod to an additional stop of the 12424 Rajdhani Express at the Rangiya Junction, �showing a negative attitude towards the aspiration of the people of the region�.

It has demanded that approval be given by the Railway Ministry for stoppage of the 12424 Rajdhani Express at the Rangiya Junction.

It has sought Goyal's intervention for setting up a railway terminal at Agyathuri to decongest the existing terminals at Guwahati and Kamakhya and for introduction of long distance trains from Murkongselek to places like Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, and for clubbing of the Greater Guwahati area with the Rangiya Division of NFR.

The Association has also called upon the Minister to take steps for providing indirect employment to local hawkers of this region by authorising them to sell traditional Assamese food items like pitha and other handicraft products in railway property.

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