DOOMDOOMA, Dec 12 – The State’s first ever railway track, which was commissioned way back in 1883 by a British company from Dibrugarh and Saikhowa, has been closed down by the Northeast Frontier Railway.
The historic track was set up by the British company named ‘Assam Railway and Trading company’ (ART) for smooth running of their business activities. It was commissioned on July 16, 1883. When coalmine was discovered at Ledo, another track was laid from Makum to Ledo the ART Company joining with the Dibru-Sadiya line.
In the post-Independence period, the railway track suffered extensive damage during the devastating earthquake of 1950, forcing abandonment of the portion between Dangari and Saikhowaghat, following which Dangari became the last point.
Gradually, due to alleged negligence by NF Railway, the historic track lost its importance on the State’s railway map. In spite of this, however, a passenger train was being run by the NF Railway from Tinsukia to Dangari.
During the last decade of the previous century, NF Railway was about to close down this track but it did not materialise due to stiff opposition from the public, which also forced the NF Railway to convert it from meter-gauge to broadgauge and the authorities introduced a passenger train from Tinsukia to Dangari on this converted line. It is this train that has now been closed down by NF Railway. According to information, a section in the Tinsukia division of NFR had been trying to close down the Makum-Dangari track.
The people of this area have been demanding of the NF Railway to introduce a train from Dangari to Guwahati. The Tinsukia district committee of AJYCP has submitted memoranda to the Divisional Railway Manager, Tinsukia, on several occasions in this regard. The student body has also made it clear that if NFR fails to re-introduce the passenger train and start a mail to Guwahati, the AJYCP will resort to a ‘Rail Roko’ agitation soon.