Assam Rail Passengers’ Association demands separate Railway Zone for NE

GUWAHATI: Alleging neglect by the Railway authorities towards the Northeast, the Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) has called upon the senior officials of the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to take initiative and send recommendations to New Delhi for bifurcation of the railway zone. ARPA secretary Dipankar Sharma said the railway infrastructure in the region will not improve till the NF Railway is bifurcated and a separate zone exclusively for the seven Northeastern States is constituted.

Over the years, there have been allegations that the areas falling in Bihar and West Bengal take away the major chunk of funds and projects earmarked for the NFR and that the Northeastern youth are also deprived of their rightful share of jobs in the Railways.

“There is marked lack of interest among railway officials for the development of the Northeast. It is high time that senior NFR officials should show their commitment to this region and send a request to the Railway Ministry for bifurcation of the zone and for setting up a separate zone dedicated exclusively for the Northeast,” said Sharma.

He further alleged that a section of senior NF Railway officials had in the past “conspired” to prevent any bifurcation of the zone.

Interestingly, during his visit to Guwahati in May this year, former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the Ministry would look into the issue of bifurcation. However, nothing has moved since then and Prabhu himself was moved out of the Railway Ministry during the last reshuffle in the Central government.

“Let the NFR officials speak out on behalf of the people of the Northeast. Let them give a formal proposal to the Railway Ministry for the bifurcation of NFR. How long will the people of the Northeast suffer from deprivation?” said Sharma.

The ARPA has also slammed the State government for being silent on the railway-related matters.