Avik Chakraborty: Citizens Forum for Development of Assam, a leading NGO has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for shifting the Dibrugarh – Tinsukia railway line which runs parallelly to the National Highway -37.
The 92-km long railway track which passes through several important towns of the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts has been the major cause of bottleneck and a major hurdle for development as it runs along the busy national highway thereby dividing the townships, said the forum.
“A railway line is a lifeline for the development of any place. However, the existing railway track itself became the biggest hurdle in the development process of these towns.
“Normally, the railway track should not run along the national/state highways, which are considered as engines of socio-economic development of any place, but unfortunately, it is running all along from Dibrugarh to Dangri town of Tinsukia District via Lahoal, Dikom, Chabua, Tinsukia, Makum, Doomdooma and Talap, etc dividing these townships into two parts and becoming the biggest bottleneck for the development of these areas,” the NGO stated in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Modi.
The letter further mentioned that many commercial and residential establishments, industries, the Chabua Air Force Station, schools, colleges, hospitals, sports establishments, police stations, places of worship of all the faiths and the approaches to hundreds of villages covering thousands of populations on the southern part of the railway track are directly affected due to lack of alternate access to their establishments other than by crossing the rail tracks.
The railways keep also barricading the railway line affecting the mobility of an ambulance or a fire brigade to reach the needy in any emergency, it mentioned.
“Due to growth of Industrial and commercial activities on both the sides of the railway track towards northern and southern direction, a large number of the population have to cross the railway track daily at several manned and unmanned railway crossings along with loaded trucks, car, rickshaw etc. and the closing of railway gates has resulted into various inconveniences to the public at a large and economic loss to the nation. Further, the railway track has also restricted the widening of the road running parallel to the railway track,” the memorandum mentioned.
The NGO further said that the issue was mentioned in the Master Plan of Tinsukia town in 1971 and a survey was done for the shifting of said Railway line in the year 2012-13 by the Ministry of Railways. However, a final decision for the benefit of the people is yet to see the light of the day.
“The only solution to the entire problem is to shift the railway track from the existing place to elsewhere, may be as per the survey completed by Railways during the year 2012-13,” it stated.