Ignored, Giridih station cries for care - Pilgrim spot fetches Rs 25cr for railways, but denied express trains
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- Published 19.08.09
|Pankaj Tah with the gifts his great grandfather received from the British. (Shahnawaz Akhtar)|
Giridih, Aug. 19: Before Independence, it was considered important enough by the British to host a railway siding. Today, it is not even deemed fit for express trains.
Despite the huge profit it earns for the Asansol division of railways, Giridih continues to be neglected with the railway authorities doing nothing to develop the station. All that it can lay claim to is a passenger train between Madhupur and Giridih.
“My great grandfather had bagged the task to construct the railway siding in 1865. When the siding was completed in 1871, he was rewarded with mementoes,” said Pankaj Tah, pointing to a lantern and some watches. “After the advent of railways, the colliery flourished in no time. The siding was turned into a railway station in 1901. But sadly, it has not witnessed much progress over the years,” he said.
“The place, which remains cut-off from 6pm to 5am every day, could not develop because of lack of railway communication,” rued Bharat Bhanu Chaudhary, the district president of Trinamul Congress who had recently written to Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee on the matter.
According to records, the Asansol railway division earns around Rs 25 crore as revenue from the Giridih station every year. Till may this year, the figure has already crossed Rs 25 crore. But not a paisa has ever been spent to upgrade the station though Giridih has always been a huge draw because of the Parasnath Hills, the Khandoli Dam and Usri waterfalls.
Besides, the place is rich in coal and mica reserves — something that led the British to establish the second railway siding here after Ranigunj in 1871. It is also an iron and steel hub in eastern India.
“The British had introduced railways here to exploit the mineral reserve. Ironically, even after Independence, Giridih is being treated in the same way. Crores are being earned from coal freight, but no express train plies on this route,” said Forward Block leader Somnath Mukherjee.
When contacted, Mamata said she would take up the matter with the railway board chairman. “I have no idea about the condition of the station. I will talk to the chairman and take necessary steps,” she said.
DRM, Asansol, D.K. Gain said he had proposed to the railway board to provide two coaches for Calcutta that would be connected with the Lal Quila Express at Madhupur railway station. But, so far no decision has been taken.