The Telegraph
Thursday , November 28 , 2013
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Minister focus on old projects, silent on new

- Promises of better facilities and Rajdhani for Bhagalpur as demand for new railway division grows
The minister of state for railways, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, at the function in Bhagalpur on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Kumar

The minister of state for railways, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, on Tuesday night talked of completing long-pending projects but refrained from making any promises.

Adhir inaugurated platform No. 6 at Bhagalpur railway station and laid the foundation stone for a proposed “Yatri Suvidha Kendra” in the southern part of the station.

Addressing a mammoth rally on the station premises, the minister said the long-awaited demand like running of Rajdhani Express from Assam to New Delhi via Bhagalpur would soon be fulfilled.

Expectations ran high during Adhir’s visit, as many demands like opening a new railway division, completion of work on double-tracking the Bhagalpur-Barharwa section, introducing more trains like the Bhagalpur-Calcutta Shatabdi Express and others have been pending since long. BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain, who was present at the function, repeated the demands before the minister. In reply, Adhir said since the financial condition of Indian Railways was not good it would take time to fulfil such demands.

The announcement for a new railway division at Bhagalpur was made during railway minister Lalu Prasad’s tenure in 2009. A report was submitted before the railways in 2011 and a committee asked to conduct a survey to check the operational areas of the new division. “More time would be required to start work on a full-fledged new railway division here. The railways have provided Rs 5.25 crore for a proposed over-bridge and for remodelling the Bhagalpur yard, scheduled for completion in 2014. I am personally interested in developing railways facilities at Bhagalpur,” Adhir said.

Residents, however, were not satisfied with the junior railway minister’s assurances. “We hoped for some concrete vows from the minister but he only gave assurances,” said Nirupam Kanti Pal, the secretary of the local chapter of Bihar Bengalee Association.

Members of the association, who have been long demanding to change the name of 13071/72 Howrah-Jamalpur Express to Saratchandra Chattopadhyay Express or Srikanta (the writer’s novel) Express in memory of the author who spent his early days in Bhagalpur, handed over a memorandum to Adhir.

Adhir also addressed pupils at a function christened Shaheed-E-Mumbai, organised by Delhi Public School for martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai attack on Tuesday.

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