| The Dhubri-Kamakhya fast passenger train at Dhubri station on Monday. Telegraph picture |
Dhubri, Sept. 13: Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off the Dhubri-Kamakhya fast passenger train through video conferencing from New Jalpaiguri Railway Stadium at 12.20pm today.
She also flagged off the Alipur Junction-Lumding inter-city express train and inaugurated a computerised reservation centre at Gossaigaon under Alipur (construction) and Maligaon (traffic) railway divisions through video-conferencing.
As Mamata did the official honours and since no arrangements were made by the programme manager at Dhubri railway station, the Dhubri-Kamakhya train was simultaneously and jointly flagged off here by the chief engineer of Maligaon railway division, T.P.R.
Narayana Rao, AIUDF legislator from Bilasipara (West) Hafiz Basir Ahmed Kasemi, Dhubri deputy commissioner Jatindra Lahakar, Dhubri superintendent of police Dipak Choudhury, Dhubri Municipal Board chairman Himabrata Majumdar and the joint-convener of New Moinaguri-Jogighopa BG Railway Line Demand Committee, Tazmul Hoque.
Rao said the railway was committed to serve the nation, particularly this part of the region. “I understand the enthusiasm of the people of this area following the flagging off of a train after 22 years. I promise you better service and expect better co-operation from you to run trains safely on this route,” he added.
The Dhubri-Kamakhya fast passenger chugged upto and from Fakiragram today, inaugurating the 66km Dhubri-Fakiragram broad conversion section. However, it will run as scheduled from tomorrow, Rao said. It will depart from Dhubri at 8am and arrive at Kamakhya at 4.15pm; leave Kamakhya at 11pm and arrive at Dhubri at 7.30am.
Kasemi said more trains were needed on the route, including a Dhubri-Calcutta direct one as people of the area and those in adjacent West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya depended on this route.
Lahakar said it was the responsibility of the people to see that trains ran without any hindrance. “The Dhubri railway station, which was established in 1904, is the oldest in Assam. I appeal to the people of Dhubri to preserve its past glory by keeping the station clean,” he added.
The Dhubri SP assured police protection to the train and passengers but appealed to the people to be alert to thwart any attempt at sabotage.
Hoque said one of the demands of the committee was fulfilled today and the people of the area were now looking forward to the completion of New Moinaguri-Jogighopa broad gauge railway line. “The railway ministry had assured the demand committee that the Coochbehar-Dhubri BG line would be completed by 2008 but they could not keep their commitment and later fixed March 2011 for completion of the work. We hope that they will not miss the deadline this time,” he added.
Hoque demanded more trains on the route and reintroduction of goods train, which had been stopped while the line was being converted into board gauge, in view of the Dhubri river port that is coming up in the area.
Majumdar said, “The train service will not only be cheaper but will also end the agony of the people who often face frequent bandhs, road blockade and strikes in lower Assam districts.”