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Saturday, October 24, 2009

ACKHSA explains agitation for Gauge Conversion and EWC project

SILCHAR, Oct 24: The All Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students’ Association (ACKHSA), along with the All Dimasa Students’ Union (ADSU), organized a joint press meet at a hotel in Silchar today. In the meeting, ACKHSA elaborated on the various agitational programmes organized by the association since 2006 to put pressure on the government for properly implementing the two most important projects in Silchar–– the Broad Gauge Project or the Gauge Conversion Project and the East-West Corridor (EWC) Project.

ACKHSA central committee president Rupam Nandy Purkayastha, in the meeting, said that the association had submitted its first memorandum to the Assam Chief Minister on December 13, 2006 asking him to implement the two important projects of Silchar properly. But the project did not materialize after that. Purkayastha further added that the association, once again, submitted a memorandum to the General Manager (Constitution) on November 1, 2007 demanding speedy implementation of the Gauge Conversion Project from Silchar to Lumding.

According to reports, the projects lay dormant even after repeated pleas and a people’s convention was formed with as many as 31 organizations of south Assam. These organizations, in the convention, gave the responsibility to ACKHSA to steer an agitation against the government demanding implementation of the Gauge Conversion Project and the EWC Project.

It has been alleged that Barak Valley was lagging behind in the communication sector only because of the Assam Government’s apathy towards it. Sources said that due to non-implementation of the Gauge Conversion and the EWC projects, development of South Assam along with Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura was almost impossible.

Therefore, a joint demand note was placed before Railway Standing Committee Chairman Basudev Acharya on June 16, 2008 on his arrival at Silchar. After that, the ACKHSA and ADSU jointly held a press conference at Silchar on June 23, 2008 and expressed their displeasure towards the Assam Government for not implementing the twin projects.

Also, a students’ strike was observed on August 1, 2008, at NC Hills and Barak Valley which was called by both ACKHSA and ADSU. ACKHSA president Rupam Nandy Purakayastha also said that a 12-hour bandh was called by the association when UPA president Sonia Gandhi came to Silchar. He said this was done to draw the attention of Gandhi so that they could keep their demands in front of her.

Purkayastha said that a public convention would be summoned on December 6, 2009 to pressurize the Assam Government to look into the issue of Gauge Conversion project and the EWC project as soon as possible.

Along with Rupam Nandi Purkayastha and Prafulla Hafila, the press meet was attended by student leaders of both the unions like Kaji Abu Laskar Salim, Bishwajit Deb, Subrata Das, Animesh Burman and Probin Zidung. THE SENTINEL

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