DIBRUGARH, June 16 – Despite the fact that the Dibrugarh town (Old Reehabari) station is the first railway station of the entire Northeast India, railway officials have illogically preferred to give Tinsukia railway station the heritage status.
Construction work on the proposed Heritage Station cum Rail Museum in Tinsukia has already begun. Railway authorities have set aside all the historical facts which unarguably establish Dibrugarh (Old Reehabari) to be the first railway station in the entire Northeast. This decision has not gone down well with the people of Dibrugarh. Several leading organisations here have criticised the railways for overlooking the history and ignoring this historic city.
It may be recalled that on May 1, 1882, the first rail rolled out from Streamerghat at Dibrugarh. On May 15, 1882, it was extended upto Dinjan. On Dec 23 that year it introduced goods train upto Chabua. On July 16, 1883, the railway was extended upto Makum. Thereafter from Doomdooma side the rail track was laid and both tracks met at Borbeel (present Digboi) on the Christmas day of 1883.
Pages of history reveal that rail track started first from Mohanamukh (Streamerghat) at a distance of 4 miles from Dibrugarh, near the streamerghat which was known as Dibrumukh. From there at a distance ofabout 3.75 mile the Reehabari rail tation was established. The company concerned, at the same time, establsihed godown, workshop, engine and coach yard and few bungalows for British workers. Stations like Lahowal, Dinjan, Chabua, Makum, Margherita and Ledo etc. were subsequently established.
On February 18, 1884, at 7:20 am, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam Sir Charles Illiot flagged off the first passenger train from Reehabari rail station to Ledo with 400 Europeon and Indian passengers. As per the Centenary Souvenir of the Assam Railways and Trading Company Limited published in 1991, the said company, being the pioneer in building Dibru-Sadiya railways, described the entire history of railway development from Dibrugarh. Yet, railway officials are giving Tinsukia. The heritage status. It is pertinent to mention that the railway authorities in this context have been supplied with several historical data and appeals by several organisations of Dibrugarh. Dibrugarh Nagarik Sangha, the apex body of the city, is planning to launch a democratic stir against the Railways for bypassing the historic Dibrugarh.