GUWAHATI, Aug 12 - The Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) has called upon the members of the Assam Legislative Assembly to raise railway-related matters in the floor of the House.
Dipankar Sharma, secretary of ARPA, said that the Legislative Assemblies in other states witness debate and discussion on railway-related matters, even though the Indian Railways in a Central subject.
“Most of the railway projects affect people of one state or another. So, MLAs in the Legislative Assemblies of other states do take up such matters and ask the concerned state government to take up issues with the Centre. But, that’s missing in Assam, which is very unfortunate,” he said.
Sharma said that railway projects in Assam are always running behind schedule and railway infrastructure here is poor as compared to other regions of the country.
“So, such issues need to be raised by the MLAs who must form a pressure group and force the State government to intervene with the Centre,” he said.
The ARPA secretary said delegations from the Association had, in recent months, met the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Hitendra Nath Goswami, and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, in this regard.
“Doubling of the New Bongaigaon-Agyathuri section was sanctioned years ago, but it is yet to receive the nod from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). We asked the Speaker to take up the matter with the Central government,” Sharma said.
During the meeting with Debabrata Saikia, the ARPA delegates had requested him to raise railway matters in the Assembly and briefed him about the delay in track-doubling work and other projects.
“Senior leaders like Mahendra Mohan Choudhury had united Congressmen in the State during the 1950s and raised pertinent issues related to railways. That had led to creation of a separate Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone in 1958 with Maligaon as the headquarter. We told Saikia that the Centre is depriving Assam with regard to track-doubling as the work is progressing very slowly despite high line capacity utilisation. He assured us of his support,” said Sharma.
He said that the issue of economic and industrial development of Assam and the Northeast is closely tied with upgradation of the railway infrastructure of this region.
“If our elected representatives remain mum on such crucial issues, how will our concerns be addressed? There is a need to take up the issues in a big way and force the Centre to act,” said Sharma.