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Jorhat AJYCP threatens agitation

Jorhat, April 25: The Jorhat district committee of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad has threatened to step up its agitation from May 6 if the railways does not fulfil its demands.

The AJYCP’s demands include running of long-distance trains from Jorhat, construction of two flyovers and unloading of railway rakes at Cinnamara station instead of JPR junction near the town to avoid traffic chaos.

The AJYCP plans to take up a slew of programmes, including blockade of trains. With the airport closed for two months now, this may lead to further bottlenecks in communication. The airport has closed down for months because of revamp twice in the past three years. This, together with frequent cancellation of flights, leaves one with no option other than taking a bus or train.

AJYCP president Siba Kalita told reporters here today that they had lifted their blockade of Jan Shatabdi Express at Jorhat railway station on March 31, following an assurance over phone that the deputy railway manager of Tinsukia railway division would hold talks with the group within a week. “Almost a month has elapsed but no one has turned up. We will begin a stir against the railways from May 6 if our demands are ignored,” he said.

The AJYCP and organisations like Jorhat Bikash Committee and Jorhat Rail Sewa Suraksha Samiti have been demanding running of long-distance trains from Jorhat station for almost a decade now.

The Jorhat railway station, which is more than a century old, was upgraded to A category in 2012 when Mamata Banerjee was the railway minister but the facilities remain abominable and no long-distance train plies from here.

People have to travel half an hour or so to Mariani, on the southern outskirts of the district, to board trains to Delhi and Calcutta. However, communication network to Mariani is poor and no public vehicles ply there after 7pm. As most of the long-distance trains like Brahmaputra Mail, Rajdhani Express and Kamrup Express, which start from Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, pass Mariani in the dead of night, one has to reach the station much early and wait for hours.

Kalita alleged gross neglect by the railways though Jorhat is an important tea town, has a number of educational institutes, army and air force headquarters and units of oil majors ONGC and OIL.

“The Jorhat railway station totes up a hefty revenue of crores of rupees by way of passenger and goods bookings but there is no development here,” Kalita said.

The organisations are also demanding building of two overbridges at the busy Na Ali and Gar Ali rail gates where huge traffic jams occur whenever the rail gates are closed.