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Thursday, March 4, 2010

NFR rejects fears over Broad-Gauge schedule

NFR rejects fears over BG schedule
From our Staff Reporter
Silchar, March 4: “Even though the Railway Department gave word that the Silchar-Lumding Broad-Gauge conversion project would be completed by 2012, there lies an array of doubts to the statement as the department has not yet applied for land acquisition to the Forest Department for the construction of railway tracks,” said State Excise Minister Gautam Roy. He said there is not much chance for the project to be completed on time.

An NF railway official, however, in its Maligaon headquarters told The Sentinel that the Railway Department had long before applied for land acquisition to the Forest Department. He further said that it was a lengthy process as the matter was first addressed to the NC Hills Autonomous district Council and then to Dispur and finally it would be sent to the Central Government for its final approval. He also said all the formalities have almost been completed and the final approval would reach within a couple of months.

He further informed this scribe that approval was required only for a stretch about 60 km from lower Haflong to Harangajao where the broad-gauge track would have new alignment in lieu to the existing one. The NFR official further said since the Silchar-Lumding broad-gauge was a national project, such trivial matters would not pose any major obstacle in its completion. He also said NFR General Manager Shiv Kumar had categorically maintained that the much awaited project would be completed within the stipulated period.

Meanwhile, Gautam Roy claimed that he had recently had a parley with Shiv Kumar and had asked him to submit the application to the Forest Ministry for acquisition of land. He said he had promised all sort of co-operation to get the approval passed as quickly as he could.

However, political circle in the Barak Valley was  skeptical about Gautam Roy’s statement as he blamed Central Minister Sontosh Mohan Dev for duping the common people of Barak Valley. Referring to last year’s meeting in Lumding which was attended by Hanique, two MPs from Silchar and Karimganj Kabindra Purkayastha and Lalit Mohan Shuklavaidya respectively and Dev as well as top level railway officials, where the latter announced that the project would be completed by 2012. Roy said, how could Dev and Hanique believe in such baseless claims by the Railways as it had not yet applied for land acquisition to the Forest Department. Sources said after being informed that the final approval for forest land acquisition from Delhi would reach the Railway Department soon, Roy now wanted to take the credit. THE SENTINEL

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