GUWAHATI, April 7 – It has been for long an inconvenience to thousands of commuters, particularly vehicle users in Guwahati, and the problem is becoming more acute. Waiting time for people at railway-level crossings has increased noticeably in recent times with gates being closed quite frequently and for longer periods.
The situation has worsened with new trains being introduced between Guwahati and other destinations in the recent past which pass through the level crossings. On an average, 40 passenger trains use the stretch every day.
Today, it is not uncommon for commuters to wait for 15 minutes or more at some level crossings such as Chandmari, Bharalumukh and Kumarpara. Closer to the Guwahati Railway station, the wait increases as trains usually move at a slow pace while entering or leaving the station.
Bikash Das, a resident of Kumarpara, said that he has to wait on his two-wheeler for a long time to cross the train tracks when the gates remain closed. It becomes unbearable during summertime with his kids having to endure the heat and dust.
According to North East Frontier Railway, there are at least eleven level crossings between Narengi and Kamakhya where Train Vehicle Unit (TVU) is high and calls for Road Over Bridges (ROB) to be built. This would have facilitated uninterrupted flow of vehicles over the railway tracks.
In the absence of the ROBs, roads are clogged with vehicles on both the sides and, quite often, the traffic snarl stretches over to adjoining arterial routes hindering the vehicular movement. One such occurrence happens near the Bharalumukh railway crossing where vehicles waiting to cross over from the north create traffic snarls on the busy AT Road.
Well-placed sources in NFR headquarter, Maligaon stated that construction of ROBs are on the basis of cost sharing between the State Government and the Railways. The NFR has in principle agreed to share its cost burden for select ROBs in Guwahati and has informed the State Government. But the State Government is yet to come up with a suitable response.
Meanwhile, the congestion near closed railway gates has affected not just the general public but emergency services as well. Several cases have been reported in which ambulances with patients have lost precious time because of the gates being closed.