Jorhat, July 5: The Upper Assam Chamber of Commerce has reiterated its demand for the extension of train services from Guwahati to Upper Assam.
The organisation has written to railway minister V. Sadananda Gowda to extend to Upper Assam trains that ply from Guwahati to various destinations in India to enable better transportation facilities, especially for the business community.
Established in 1944, the Upper Assam Chamber of Commerce has asked the railways minister “to kindly incorporate the suggestions in the next railway budget in the greater interest of the people of the Northeast”.
It wants Saraighat Express (L 12346) that runs between Guwahati and Howrah in Bengal to be extended to Dibrugarh.
It said Guwahati-Jodhpur/Bikaner Mail should originate in Dibrugarh and the Barmer-Guwahati Express be extended to Dibrugarh.
The AC Special weekly train to and from Kamakhya and New Delhi should also be extended to Dibrugarh or Tinsukia.
The association requested that AC two-tier and three-tier coaches be attached to the Kamakhya Inter-city train which plies to and from Jorhat from Guwahati.
O.P. Gattani, the president of the association, said the only local train which plied between Guwahati and Jorhat was important, as one could travel at night, finish work during the day and return by bus or train. There would be no need to waste a day.
“This is the only train that plies at night from Jorhat and is a favourite with commuters who have work in the capital. Unfortunately, despite innumerable pleas made earlier to NF Railways, there are no AC coaches attached to this train so that the people can travel in comfort at night,” Gattani said.
Jorhat, which was the last capital of the Ahom kings who ruled over the region for 600 years, had grown commercially in the past 20 years and is next only to Guwahati in importance.
Jorhat has both army and air force bases. It also has a number of research and other institutes like the North East Institute of Science and Technology, Assam Agricultural University, Engineering College, ONGC, Rain Forest Research Institute, the Tocklai Tea Research Institute and a medical college but it lacks railway infrastructure.
Gattani was hopeful that the railway minister would consider their request.