GUWAHATI, Jan 30 - The Assam Rail Passengers� Association (ARPA) has called upon the State government and the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to take a proactive stand and pressurise the Centre to take the initiative for construction of a second rail bridge over the Brahmaputra at Saraighat.
ARPA general secretary Dipankar Sharma said today that a second rail bridge at the location is necessary for both strategic as well as communication and trade needs.
�A single track over the river at Saraighat is not at all sufficient. With growth in passenger and goods traffic and increase in the number of long-distance trains, the utilisation capacity of the bridge is already too high. Besides, it is more than half a century old bridge and there are strategic issues also involved,� he said.
He added that the State government should formally pressurise the Centre to urgently take up the matter of a second rail bridge at the place and NFR should also push the case before the Railway Board.
�We are glad that a second road bridge has been inaugurated at Saraighat, but a second rail bridge is also an imperative,� Sharma said.
He also called upon the State government to pressurise the Centre to fast-track the work on double tracking.
�Double tracking is progressing at a snail�s pace and there are massive cost and time over-runs. So Dispur must also demand of the Railway Ministry to intensify the pace of work,� Sharma said.
The ARPA secretary also laid stress upon formation of an Assam Rail Development Corporation.
�The railway authorities should also intensify the drive for eviction of encroachment from railway lands,� Sharma said.
ARPA has also demanded of NFR to increase suburban services for the benefit of daily commuters.