After waiting for nearly 69 years, Assam’s small city Silchar finally got its first direct train to New Delhi.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recenty flagged off the first direct train between the two cities with the train making its maiden journey.
The train, that has been named Silchar-New Delhi Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Special Express, will run once a week from both the cities.
With the travel time of more than fourty-five hours, the train has four AC three tier coaches, four sleeper class, four general bogies and two seating-cum-luggage coaches.
The 69 years long delay has mostly been blamed on the lukewarm attitude of the past governments and also the fact that Silchar is geographically secluded. Silchar, is located in the Cachar district of Southern Assam and borders Bangladesh.
Though late in arrival, the move is now expected to strengthen the bond between Northeast and rest of the states.
During the train’s flag off ceremony, Prabhu said:
“North East has the capacity to contribute significantly to the nation’s development. But the region and people living in the states here need better connectivity to stay connected with the rest of India. It is a historic day for the people of Barak Valley who have long been waiting for better connectivity. We must turn our promises into performance.”
Besides connecting the city with the capital, the train will also travel 2000 km connecting the entire region of Barak valley, linking the three districts of southern Assam.
This entire region has had a major significance in India’s struggle for independence.
Prabhu added that the government is committed to connect the region to all parts of India, and stated that by year 2020, all the state capitals of the Northeast will have a direct rail connection to New Delhi.
He also assured that by 2020, Silchar would be further connected to Mumbai and Chennai directly.
Apart from this, Prabhu also flagged off two brand new Broad gauge freight trains, one from Badarpur, Assam to Jirania, Tripura and other to Jiribam, Manipur. Keeping up with his promise, Prabhu also declared that Silchar- Agartala inter-city express and two other passenger trains on Silchar-Guwahati and Silchar-Tinsukia routes will be started.
The trains were launched just few days before the Rail Budget was presented in the Lok Sabha on February 25, and comes just months before Assam’s Assembly elections, which are to take place later this year.
The project itself was initiated 20 years ago in 1996 but, has been waiting completion since 2004.
Many believe the project may have been expedited for political gains by the BJP. Though much delayed, we at TopYaps still applaud the efforts made by the Indian Railway Ministry to get the project completed.