The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rail scraps underpass

Siliguri, Aug. 4: It took the Railways five years to decide that an underpass, more appropriately, a road under bridge (RUB), is “unfeasible”.

The Northeast Frontier Railway has decided to scrap the plan for an RUB at Siliguri Junction. This after the latest design was duly approved by its chief engineer Sanjib Roy on August 18, 2003 and the memorandum of understanding signed between the Railways and Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) on June 28, 2004.

The decision not to go ahead was formally announced at a meeting today, which was attended by urban development minister and SJDA chairman Asok Bhattacharya, divisional railway manager Mahtab Singh, inspector-general of police K.L. Meena and Siliguri Municipal Corporation mayor Bikash Ghosh.

The SJDA, which is funding the project, and the Railways, which is executing it, are now thinking of coming up with a road overbridge, meant only for light vehicles, including four-wheelers.

The Junction underpass is one of the six such underpasses proposed to join the eastern and western halves of Siliguri, dissected by a railway track which was converted from metre to broad gauge in 2000. The underpass, which would have eased the traffic situation in town, was among the list of promises made by Bhattacharya ahead of the Assembly elections recently.

“It is a face-loss for me,” Bhattacharya said. “Based on repeated assurances by the railway authorities, I gave my word to the people of Wards 1 and 47, who are facing the brunt of the problem.”

Bhattacharya said the Railways will adjust the amount, Rs 99,72,918, the last instalment (Rs 49,72,918) of which was paid on April 4 this year, against the alternative project and not return it straight away.

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