Will Railway Budget bring cheers to people of Bhagalpur?

भागलपुर BHAGALPUR (BGP): Will the demand of the people of Bhagalpur for upgradation of Bhagalpur railway station to divisional railway headquarters be fulfilled in the 2015 railway budget?

Denial of the divisional status to Bhagalpur railway station will be perceived as retroactive, feels the denizens who may take to streets if the present railway minister does not take steps towards making it a railway division. It may be mentioned here that the demand for divisional status to Bhagalpur railway station can be traced back to the establishment of Eastern Railways in 1952. Railway division at Malda (West Bengal), under which Bhagalpur railway station comes, was created in 1984.

Bhagalpur railway station is the highest revenue earner under Malda railway division and taking the fact into consideration the then railway minister Lalu Prasad had laid the foundation of railway division at Bhagalpur on March 1, 2009. Prasad had announced the railways will spend Rs 2 crore on the project. An officer-on-special duty (OSD) was also posted thereafter to look after developmental works related to the proposed railway division.

But, after the change of guards in the ministry of railways (that went to Trinamool Congress from May 2009 to September 2012 in UPA-II ) the work related to the proposed railway division at Bhagalpur came to a standstill. The officials posted there for the purpose were also withdrawn subsequently, apparently due to political reasons. Since then none of the railway ministers cared for Bhagalpur’s craving for divisional status.

Hopes of the people of the region were rekindled when the minister of state for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary visited Bhagalpur in December 2012 and announced the division will become a reality as envisaged by Lalu Prasad. Chowdhary reiterated his commitment for the same and also announced to introduce ‘Rajdhani Express’ train between New Delhi and Guwahati via Bhagalpur during his second official visit on November 27, 2013 but in vain.

Silence on making Bhagalpur railway station a divisional headquarters has angered the people here, said the Eastern Bihar Industries Association (EBIA) president Mukutdhari Agarwal. Any vacillation on divisional status to Bhagalpur railway station in the railway budget slated for February 26, 2015, will not go down well with the electorates, said the Eastern Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (EBCCI) president Shailendra Kumar Saraf adding people have lot of expectations from new railway minister Suresh Prabhu and PM Narendra Modi.

Former BJP MP from Bhagalpur and BJP’s national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain says demand for divisional status to Bhagalpur railway station is an emotive issue for the people of this region hence it should be conceded without delay. He said the Congress led UPA-II government scuttled the chances of railway division here. Social activist Raman Karn said that injustice to Bhagalpur should be rectified now.