SILCHAR, Nov 21 - There were scenes of euphoric celebrations at the Silchar Railway Station today as the first BG passenger train left the station for Guwahati. With this, a long-standing demand of the 40 lakh people of the Barak Valley has been fulfilled.
The two decades of wait and struggle came to an end as Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the 55616 Silchar-Guwahati fast passenger train at 10.52 am from Rail Bhavan, New Delhi, via video conferencing. Simultaneously, Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha waved the flag at the Silchar Railway Station amid deafening cheers and beating of drums. Around 20,000 people from all parts of the Barak Valley had converged on the station.
Seventy-year-old Ramendra Kumar Das, who came from Kalain, summed it all up: �It is the happiest day for me.� Youngsters got into each of the 15 coaches as they celebrated the historic occasion.
According to Railway sources, regular passenger train services will begin from November 23. One train will depart from Silchar every day at 5 am and reach Guwahati at 5.15 pm. Similarly, the 55615 Guwahati-Silchar train will leave Guwahati at 11.55 pm every day and reach Silchar at 1.10 pm the next day.
Addressing the people of the Barak Valley from the Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that it was a day of rejoicing not only for the Barak Valley, but for the entire nation. Prabhu added that the Government is committed to accomplishing 500 km of gauge conversion works in the North Eastern States so that all the State capitals are connected through broad gauge. On investments in the North-Eastern States, the minister said, �The Government has decided to invest Rs 6,000 crore in the North East Frontier Railway in the current financial year to boost rail connectivity. Also, efforts are being made to establish rail links with Bangladesh.�
The connection with Silchar through a broad gauge line will not only benefit the people of the Barak Valley but also the States of Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur, the Union Railway Minister said.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said that he was happy to be a part of the historic day. Sinha admitted that completing projects for the North Eastern States has always been a big challenge for the Railway Department, but the officials have done commendable work. He assured the people that trains with greater speed would run on the tracks in the coming days.
Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who reached the function after the train had left the station, called for coordinated efforts to take the State forward on the path of development.