SILCHAR, Oct 29 - According to HK Jaggi, the new General Manager (Construction) of the NF Railway, the much awaited Silchar-Lumding passenger train service will start only after the remaining loopholes are rectified. Stressing the need of passenger safety, Jaggi, who reached here on Wednesday after inspecting the diversion areas along the Lumding-Haflong-Badarpur route, said that there is no lack of effort in executing the action plan taken up to start the passenger train service.
�The line is complete and the track is absolutely fit as goods trains are already running on it. But there are valid apprehensions about passenger safety and that is our major concern. We are likely to wrap up the remaining works, particularly the ventilation at the 3.3 km Tunnel No. 9 within November,� he said without specifying when passenger trains can ply on the route.
Jaggi added that the Railways want to ensure that all safety measures are available before starting the passenger trains so that the public do not suffer at a later stage. He said that the suggestions made in the CRS report after the inspection of the route had been addressed and the remaining points would be taken care of on a priority basis.
In reply to a question as to whether the passenger trains will operate only during the winter, Jaggi said that trains should run safely and punctually. �We are taking this extra time only to look into those factors which may cause problems during the monsoon. Looking at the developments in the section, I do not think we will have to suspend trains during the rainy season,� the General Manager maintained.
Meanwhile, State Transport Minister Ajit Singh has made it clear that the people of Barak Valley are eagerly waiting for passenger trains to start operating. But if the services are delayed on �silly pretexts,� the public will not hesitate to protest. �We are aware of the technical complications and want that the NF Railway must ensure total safety on the route. But if there is any inordinate delay, we will resort to a protest,� Singh warned.
Silchar MP Susmita Dev, who also met the General Manager at the station campus, said that the people want to get their demand fulfilled at the earliest. �The NF Railway is doing its best to give us a track that will ensure smooth journey,� she added. Dev appealed to the people not to politicize the delay �which is purely due to technical reasons.�
On the other hand, a delegation of the Cachar BJP unit, which met the General Manager, said that train services must start at the earliest by fulfilling the safety measures. Kaushik Rai, president of the Cachar district BJP unit, said that the Railways must operate a train named the Bhasha Shaheed Express to honour those who laid down their lives during the Language Movement of 1961.