Saturday, November 27, 2010

Connectivity - still a far fetched dream...


The thought of going to Silchar doesn’t excite me anymore. The thought of a home trip brings along an array of worries that include travel expense, hazardous journey and many other factors that we encounter on the way to our beloved town.

I might be accused of talking snobbish; a metropolitan moron who has recently migrated to a metropolis and now takes pride in looking down upon his native where he was brought up. But when emotions collide with the ground realities, most of the times emotions are forced to take a backseat.

I am probably one of the (un)luckiest few who stay near about 3,000 km away from their native. In spite of the presence of many low cost airlines, it is almost impossible to make a trip at a cost less than INR14000 per head (to and fro). There are cheaper means as well, but that makes you spend around 40 – 60 hours on road (one way) depending on which train you are travelling in; moreover, you are lucky if you don’t meet with the otherwise regular impediments like foul weather, landslide, bandh in the hill districts etc. Not to elude the physical strain that comes as inevitable given the condition of NH#44. 

Silchar, apart from being a district headquarter, inhabits a population of about 5 lakh and also acts as a corridor to three other north-eastern states. Sadly, Silchar doesn’t yet have direct air connectivity with any city outside northeast other than Kolkata; it is yet to get a direct rail connectivity with the state capital, forget about the national capital. Whereas another town in the upper Assam that claims to be of equal importance, Dibrugarh, enjoys both.

Silchar to Lumding broad-gauge connection still remains a dream. The foundation stone for the 201-km Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project was laid in 1996 by the then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and work was supposed to be over by 2006. Since then, many such targets were set and eventually missed as well. The Haflong - Silchar road which was considered to be a major means of communication between Barak Valley and Brahmaputra valley is now in a miserable condition thanks to the earth cutting & filling work in the name of broad-gauge connectivity. Though the distance from Haflong to Silchar is only 111 KM but it takes 10 - 12 hours to reach Silchar.

I really don’t blame those who ask me if Silchar, for that matter, Assam is a part of India. Their geography is poor, agreed… but with the amount of money and time you spend travelling to this part of the country, you can have a nice and hassle-free overseas trip.

The honourable Member of Parliament from Silchar constituency had recently staged a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding Silchar to Lumding broad-gauge line, which was widely covered by the local press in Silchar. Probably Mr. MP realized that the 2G and LIC Scams might bring the government down and another election might come calling… so better do something to keep my presence felt. After all, its the act that matters… who is bothered about the result?

Silchar never had great roads, but now it doesn’t have a stretch that technically qualifies to be called a road. Load shedding has been a perennial problem there, but nowadays residents of Silchar find a reason to celebrate when power comes back for a little while after hours of power cut. Walking seems to be a better option, as a Rickshaw ride gives you a weeklong back pain… 

We were brought up in a world where things did not change for years and we thought it was normal and natural. But after the first 22 years of my life, when I stepped outside, I realized the world was changing, economy was growing. I saw a world where basic necessities are met and people can think about the finer aspects of life. World outside Silchar (read north east) has changed, for better, and has been progressing at a fast pace. However, Silchar has also changed, but for worse.

But nevertheless, we crave for going there for the love of our native, our parents, relatives and friends. After all, we belong to the ‘island of peace’. We are nice people, we are happy with whatever we have, or rather don’t have.

6 comments:

  1. so vry true......seems s if ds lines r inner mindset of every young silcharian.....kp it goin...actually it hurts 2 face d reality.....bt we hv 2 s r lft with no options....

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  2. Its a sad story of Silchar, indeed

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  3. Very truly said mate. But I guess all the assholes who pretend to be our representatives have booked flats in metros so they don't bother.

    But apart from that, I think, we the people somewhere too, are to blame.

    We have never seen any standing up of the ppl seriously against the pathetic infrastucture of Silchar.

    It is never the case outside. The ppl MAKE the responsible & GET THE WORK DONE.

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  4. exactly buddies. i completely vouch on the emotion and thoughts. i don't know what i keep forward would be right or not but if we join hands and come forward forgetting all the political affections and racial backgrounds then may be we can draw a new horizon.

    what do you say !

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  5. Connectivity - still a far fetched dream...
    The thought of going to Silchar doesn’t excite me anymore. The thought of a home trip brings along an array of worries that include travel .. all me

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  6. The rest of Assam excluding barak velly is comparetively developed.good roads,trains.but here autorikshaws take 4 passengrs in the front seat and travel at a speed of Mc 3 in roads (?) .if u dnt clatch well u might b threw away from the vehicl.what a BAD BAD road communication.BUT WHY THESE ALL HAPPENS IN BARAK VELLY AND NOT IN REST OF ASSAM ???

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Silchar through the Lense