Guwahati, Monday, January 25, 2010
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Resentment over delay in BG project
 JONAI, Jan 24 – People of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts with a large section of people from East Siang district of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh have expressed their resentment over the Northeast Frontier Railway ’s (NFR) inordinate delay in constructing a broad gauge (BG) line to the two North Assam districts.

The BG tracks will be laid on the Rangiya-Murkongselek route, a vital surface link connecting Lakhimpur, Dhemaji districts and East Siang district of Arunachal with other parts of the country. Essential commodities and other trade materials to Dhemaji, Silapathar and Jonai of Assam besides to major places at Likabali, Aalo, Ruksin. Pasighat and Yingkiong of Arunachal are carried through the route.

Eminent citizens including the leaders of local students’ unions have alleged that the sheer apathy in the conversion of the Rangiya-Murkokselek metre gauge to broad gauge by the NFR has dealt a blow to the prospect of growth of railways in the area.

“The construction of the railway project is bearing the brunt of negligence of the NFR. Nothing satisfactory has been done so far despite repeated appeals to the railway for early construction and submission of a memorandum demanding the early conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge. Not even one third of the work, scheduled to be completed by 2011, has been done. “Our dissatisfaction stems from the fact that the vital rail link which came up in 1962 for transportation and mobilisation of security forces to the China border in Arunachal Pradesh has not been spruced up even after more than four decades”, the members of “Murkongselek Railway Station Development Committee” here have exclaimed.

The people also said proper security arrangement in the passenger trains during night hours and delay in running of the trains are fuelling passengers’ annoyance. At present two passenger trains – Arunachal Express and a passenger train – chug along the rail track, besides some other goods trains on a regular basis.

The Rangiya- Murkongselek BG conversion project is one of the two rail projects announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during last year. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 9.157 billion.

The flashflood triggered by Jiadhal-Kumotia river wave every year ravages the rail route and NH-52 road along at Sararajan portion near Dhemaji town. It is worth mentioning that, as in previous years, the railway was breached during early August last year and rail communication disrupted for more than three months, caused immense problem in carrying the heavy articles.