New rail link from Balurghat flagged off - CPM sticks to direct train demand

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Baluraghat
  • Published 21.01.07
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Balurghat, Jan. 21: Finally, a direct express train from the South Dinajpur headquarters to Calcutta. Well, not quite.

As the Malda-Balurghat Passenger train pulled into the station here today, people cheered at the sight of two bogies, garlanded and festooned. These two compartments — both ordinary sleeper class and two-thirds filled with passengers bound for Sealdah — will be attached to the Malda-Sealdah Gour Express, which will reach the state capital tomorrow morning.

It was flagged off by RSP MP Ranen Barman and state social welfare minister Biswanath Chowdhury at 5. 20 pm. The platform was filled with more than 1,500 people, who had turned up to watch the flag-off.

The event was, however, punctuated by the cold war between Left Front constituents — the RSP and the CPM — coming to the fore. While the chairman of the RSP-run Balurghat municipality, Sucheta Biswas, greeted railway officials with bouquets, CPM leaders like, Hiren Saha, held a meeting outside the station, demanding a proper express train link to Calcutta.

“We had decided in the Left Front meeting that nothing short of a direct train would do, but some of us (implying the RSP and the CPI) have come here to celebrate the link train. We, however, declined to take part in the jubilation,” a CPM leader said.

Mehtab Singh, the divisional railway manager of Katihar, Northeast Frontier Railway, said more coaches, including air-conditioned ones, would be added, after studying the demand of the people.