Makum-Saikhowa Railpath Suraksha Samity demands Makum-Saikhowa section as a ’Heritage Line’

Makum Jn (MJN): Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) Railpath Suraksha Samity (MSRSS) has raised a strong demand for the declaration of Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) railway line which is a part of historic Dibru-Sdiya Railway Line, as a ’Heritage Line’. The MSRSS adopted a resolution in its executive body in this regard and placed it in the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) meeting held recently. This was stated by MSRSS in a release.

The Assam Railway and Trading Company (AR&T Co) had laid the 95-km-long Assam’s first railway track from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat in 1881. But, in the devastating earthquake in 1950, the track along with Saikhowaghat railway station suffered heavy damages. Consequently, the rail service was confined upto Dangari railway station, 8 km from Saikhowaghat.

In the post-independence period, no government took the initiative to restore the track upto Saikhowaghat. Towards the end of the year 2000, as a result of continuous and strong demand of MSRSS and the public, a 30-km Makum-Dangari section of the track under Tinsukia railway division was converted to broad-gauge. Though the conversion work was completed in December, 2001, the rail traffic was initiated on the track from October 30, 2002. Since then, only one passenger train (Dangari Passenger) has been plying from Tinsukia to Dangari once daily except Sundays.

In the pre-independence period and even after the independence also, train services were there from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat. But now it is confined between Tinsukia and Dangari. MSRSS has been demanding since its inception to extend the track from Dangari to Saikhowahat. It submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, the president and secretary of North-East MPs Forum and all the MPs from north-eastern States in this regard. As a result, in the Rail Budget 2012, the proposal of this extension project was sent to the Planning Commission of India. In spite of this, nothing could be seen about this project in the Rail Budgets of 2013 and 2014. This is one of the examples of Centre’s utter negligence towards the North East and specially to the historic railway track.

However, responding to the demand of MSRSS, the divisional railway manager of Tinsukia railway division, Aneet Dulat has promised to introduce a passenger reservation system (PRS) at Doomdooma. If it is materialised, the rail users of this region will be benefited.

The only passenger train running between Tinsukia and Dangari (55911 Up and 55912 Down) will be rescheduled and it will run from New Tinsukia Jn instead of Old Tinsukia station. The new schedule of the train will be prepared in such a way that it can connect its passengers will also avail the far-distant mail and express trains from New Tinsukia Jn. It is also expected that from 2015, a new system of rail traffic called diesel multiple unit (DMU) will be introduced under the Tinsukia railway division. For this, construction of infrastructure has been going or in full swing at old Tinsukia station.