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Push for rail division

Bhagalpur, Dec. 19: The proposal to set up a new railway division in the district has gained momentum.

Senior officers of the Malda division of Eastern Railway are scheduled to attend a high-level meeting with the Railway Board in New Delhi on Thursday.

The ministry has inquired about various aspects of the project such as availability of land in Bhagalpur to set up the office of the proposed division, its possible jurisdiction and the available strength of employees. We would have to submit the report to the railway board on December 20, Bhagalpur divisional railway manager-cum-officer on special duty Ravindra Gupta said on Wednesday before leaving for the national capital to attend the meeting. He was accompanied by a team of senior officers.

The new division was first proposed by RJD chief Lalu Prasad when he was the railway minister in UPA-I. He had laid the foundation of the divisional office in 2009 and announced that the railways would spend Rs 2 crore on the project. An officer-on-special duty was also appointed for the division. But when Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee replaced Lalu as the railway minister in UPA-II, the project was shelved. In 2010, the officer-on-special duty was reassigned and Malda divisional railway manager was given the additional responsibility of the office. Sources said since the departure of the Trinamul from the UPA at the Centre, the project has gained momentum.

The proposed division would be carved out of the Malda division, said a source. The proposed jurisdiction would include Gumani at Barharwa (in Jharkhand) to Kiul, Sahebganj (in Jharkhand) to Kiul and Sabour (in Bhagalpur) to Kiul. The finances would be announced during the railway budget for the new fiscal.

Union minister of state for the railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is supposed to visit the state on December 22. He would inaugurate the Mandar Hill-Hansdehia railway extension of the Bhagalpur-Rampurhat-Dumka railway project.

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