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Delay in broad-gauge conversion

Almost complete Dayang bridge

The conscious citizens of Dima Hasao criticising the indifferent attitude of the Railway officials towards the district of Dima Hasao said the District of Dima Hasao should not always be blamed for any wrong reasons to cover-up the lapses of Railway.

The district of Dima Hasao has been blamed for the delay of BG conversion time and again with the plea like poor law and order situation, insurgency, bad road condition sometime the geological condition of the soil and now the new cause ‘theft’. But the people of Dima Hasao are of the opinion that the insurgency was prevailing from 1994 and the foundation for the BG conversion was laid during 1996, and perhaps the work started in 1998. The Railway should have well acquainted with the prevailing situation. Advent of DHD (J) was in the year 2007 and from 2007 to 2009 was the obstructing period for the Railway. Now the people of Dima Hasao argued ‘was it not the responsibility of the Railway authority to find out the root cause of the delay followed by the escalation of cost of the project? They feel ‘delay in works’ means, increase in volume of works’ thus the escalation of cost. The recent assigned cause of delay ‘theft of track and fittings’, in presence of Railway Protection Force, Railway Protection Special Force and even the 119 Territorial Army who are taking care of entire area where the gauge conversion work is going on,  was not at all digestible for the people of Dima Hasao.  The 119 TA is having number of camps in strategic point of gauge conversion work site. The people of Dima Hasao argued how it was possible for the thief or thieves to steal railway materials in presence of such contingent of security men. The Superintendent of Police, Dima Hasao district Sri Mugdhajyoti Mahanta said four cases were reported so far out of which three cases was with the Railway police and one was registered with Dima Hasao Police and there was also recovery of stolen materials.

According to the people here the delay in construction was not only because of insurgency, they believe there are many more factors for the delay including serious lapses of the supervising officials. There have been some other reasons which could be termed as hidden agenda of some unscrupulous officials. This project was started in 1996 with an estimated cost of rupees 648 Cr but now for the delay in completion cost is escalated to be 5000 cr. The people here alleged that the delay was deliberately done only to allow the escalation of the cost of the project.

The people of Dima Hasao however, requested the Authority to be more serious and vigil regarding the construction of the BG conversion though it is fact that today or tomorrow the Railway has to complete be it 2015 or 2050, since the entire Railway connectivity of the country is already converted to Broad Gauge.

Once completed, the project will have 31 railway stations between Silchar and Lumding, 255 curves replacing the earlier 544 curves and 17 tunnels instead of 37 tunnels in the metre gauge track, trains can cut their running hours from Silchar and Guwahati from its present 18 hours for a distance of 360km to 8 hours

 

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Anup Biswas - Journalist from Haflong.

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