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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Malda rail snip riles Congress

Malda, Dec. 23: The district Congress has said any attempt to decrease the area of the Malda division in the Eastern Railways would spark widespread protests in the area.

Malda Congress president Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury said he has told Union railway minister Pawan Bansal that there would be political backlash in the district if Malda division was truncated.

The railways had decided to create a new Bhagalpur division by taking away parts from the Malda division.

“I have told him (Bansal) that it does not matter what decision the railways had taken in the past. But we will oppose any attempt to bifurcate the Malda division. I have also spoken to the minister of state for railways Adhir Chowdhury and I was glad to hear that he, too, is opposed the decision,” Abu Hasem said over phone from Delhi.

He added that Malda’s divisional railway manager was summoned to Delhi by the Railway Board on Thursday to discuss the creation of Bhagalpur division.

“Malda division was created by my late brother A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury during his tenure as the Union railway minister in 1984. The issue has a strong sentimental value for the people of the district and the Congress. We are dead against it and we are drawing up a blueprint for a district-wide agitation if this is carried out,” Abu Hasem said.

Railway sources said Malda division had under its control a 415km area and it had been proposed that 246km from it would be taken to create the Bhagalpur division.

“The idea of creating the Bhagalpur division by taking away a part of the Malda division was taken during Lalu Prasad’s tenure as railway minister. The truncation of Malda division will not be accepted by the two MPs of the district (Mausam Noor and Abu Hasem), both from the Congress,” Adhir said.

Divisional railway manager Ravinder Gupta said: “The decision was taken earlier.”

The president of the Eastern Railwaymen’s Union, Rupatan Das, said: “If the division is shortened, it will lose its importance.”