Clamour for Jorhat rail bypass

Jorhat, Nov. 25: The Jorhat Bikash Committee has submitted a memorandum to railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for a rail link so that long distance trains can pass through the town.

The committee, which has been demanding the routing of long distance trains through Jorhat, submitted the memorandum through Union minister of state for tribal affairs Ranee Narah last week.

The president of the committee and a member of District Railway Users Consultative Committee, Niranjan Jain, said although the Tinsukia division of railway under which Jorhat falls had sent the proposal for construction of the bypass track, the railway headquarters in Maligaon refused to sanction it.

"In the memorandum we have made it clear that neither a bridge nor land requisition would be needed for construction of the chord line. All that is required is the laying of about 640 metres of track in Mariani," he said. "Once the link line is constructed, trains like Rajdhani Express and Kamrup Express can pass through Jorhat station and we can be directly connected to Delhi and Calcutta."

The committee has demanded that the Jodhpur-Bikaner train be extended from Guwahati to Dibrugarh via Jorhat.

The memorandum said it was surprising that 67 years after Independence, the railway headquarters was not sanctioning the construction of a small bypass at Mariani so that long-distance trains could pass through the Jorhat-Golaghat route.

"Jorhat is the second most important city of Assam with all major educational and research institutes situated here besides an air force and army base but the rail and air connectivity is not adequate," Jain said.

The town has research institutes like Tocklai Experimental Station, the Central Muga, Eri Research and Training Institute, the only muga research institute in India under the Central Silk Board, the North East Institute of Science and Technology formerly regional Research Laboratory under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi and the Rain Forest Research Institute. It also has a medical college, an engineering college, the Assam Agricultural University, an Industrial Training Institute and the Eastern Theological College and the gateway to Majuli and Sivasagar.

The town is also the headquarters of Assam and Assam Arakan basin of ONGC and also has an Oil India Limited pumping station.

"Despite Jorhat giving the highest revenue under the Tinsukia railway division and the railways earning crores of rupees from the station from goods and passengers this more than 100-year-old station, which was declared a model one two years ago by the then railway minister, Mamata Banerjee, is still in a state of neglect," Jain said.