Saturday, January 1, 2011

'Silchar Dreams' in the making ...

Our lovely hometown Silchar and the entire Barak Valley is engulfed in a sea of problems today. Here at Concern For Silchar also, we are trying continuously to highlight the issues that our people are facing everyday. But as we ring in the new year, let us put our cynical hats off and dream of a Silchar that has achieved its true potential, a Silchar, that is basking in the glory of its riches and achievements.

 Road to Redemption

The politicians and corrupt babus might have robbed us of a pleasant present, but our dreams are our very own, which cannot be snatchedaway by any neta or mantri. And probably these dreams will some day help usbring the change and take our homeland out of its present state.                                                                                         
So, dear readers, let our creativity fly today and imagine how development can change the very way our people live, work and travel.

· Railways: The hustle bustle at the Bhasha Shahid Station in Tarapur isalmost deafening today. Having emerged as one of the busiest rail heads of the North East, the station caters to almost a lakh passengers everyday. The Agartala bound Rajdhani Express coming from New Delhi has just chugged in. Due to the importance of Silchar as a major business hub, this train doesn’t go to Agartala directly from Badarpur junction, rather travels a few extra kilometres to come here. From platform number 4, the Guwahati bound Shatabdi Express isjust moving out. It will cover the distance of about 340 kilometres in eighthours. The train is a major relief for the passengers as the superfast train has stoppages only at Badarpur, Haflong and Lumding. The Imphal(Tuipul) bound Rajdhani is a couple of hours late though, it will make it tothe Bhasha Shahid station only by late afternoon.

· Road transport: Tathagata, an executive working with a multinational bank here is a busy man today.  He has left for his office early in the morning and has a meeting to attend in Guwahati the next day. So he has decidedto take the 5 PM ASTC run Volvo to Guwahati. The luxury bus which leaves from the swanky ISBT at Ram Nagar will take him to the state capital within seven hours with a halt at Haflong. These hourly run Volvo buses under ASTC  area major relief. They zip through the Mahasadak with ease. Communication withthe nearby towns like Karimganj and Hailakandi is thankfully a matter of few minutes today. The daily office goers conveniently travel from one town toanother now. Due to the construction of the Central Road - Premtala and Hospital Road – Rangirkhari flyovers, driving withinthe town is a great experience.  

· Airways: TheJet Airways flight from New Delhi has just landed. The five daily flights to the national capital has been a big convenience for the last few months. The Airport has witnessed a massive facelift and there are flights round the clock to all the major cities. This has become possible simply because the business in the region has increased manifolds and a lot ofbusiness travellers are making a beeline for Silchar now.

· Business: Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata’s press conference is in progress at the International Border Trade Centre at Meherpur, Silchar. He has decided to construct a Tata Motors factory at the Dwarbond SEZ. Because of the strategic location ofSilchar, the town can easily cater to the business requirements of South Assam, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura.The central government is also promoting Silchar as the border trade hub for promoting business ties with the neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar.The change in policy of the government has seen Silchar getting promoted as amajor centre for trade and commerce in the North East. The new MP from the Honest Party has promoted the constituency as not only a place of strategic importance but also the only peaceful region in the otherwise strife torn North East. Reputed publication houses and content writing firms that set up their centres in Silchar have opened up opportunities for arts graduates in the town. The Corporate Hub near the Dwarbond SEZ has helped absorb a huge amount of finance and technical professionals . A few International BPOs and KPOs have also shown their interest to set up their offices in the outskirts of Silchar.

· Art Culture and  Education: Silchar has recently been chosen as the centre for the promotion of literary tourism. The Prime Minister had inaugurated the BhashaShahid Stambha at Gandhi Bag a couple of months back and the eleven language martyrs have been recognised as national heroes. The Language Research Institute at the prestigious Gurucharan College is a treasure trove of information about Bengali literature and other indigenous literary works of the North East. It contains rare manuscripts and hand written literary material collected from various sources across the globe. Researchers from all over the world visit the institute every year for research purposes. The Society for Promotion of Folklore and Ethnic Appreciation has planned a series of Folk concerts and exhibitions on the occasion of Poush Shankranti. Silchar being a melting pot of many ethnic races, the society aims at celebrating the diversity and aims to promote it through their folk tourism endeavours. The Centre for Conservation of  Sylheti  Literature, Silchar and the  Department of Linguistics at Assam University will organize the Ram Kumar Nandy International summit on Sylheti literature for the third time. Assam University's collaboration with numerous NGOs and Corporates have seen many socio-economic, health and environmental  initiatives in Barak Valley. It has helped in generating employment opportunities within the valley and thus triggered a sharp decline in the brain drain in the last few years 

All the above mentioned pictures of development are not impossible. If Silchar can achieve its potential, none of the above seems an impossibility. However, today we are far from the target. As we welcome the new year with grand celebrations and wild parties, can't we take a resolve to work together even harder to ensure that like all festivals and revelries we can also celebrate the growth and development of our hometown someday ?


  1. Well its doesn't sound like over estimation at all. Does it?. But then the lives, we are forced to live in Silchar has gradually made the obvious seem like a distant dream. A very well written thought indeed.

  2. Like your blog....and dreams...we shall overcome someday...let this be the starting day..

  3. SEZ in Duarbond!!!
    Border trade hub!!!

    Well your article would be down right funny, had it not been for that many of us actualy dream of such a day. Your article highlights the contrast between reality and our dreams. Are these dreams to be only dreams? Can we not act, do something, despite our politicians?

  4. Lovely blog...for a moment it gave so much of pleasure...btw, Mungerilal ke Haseen saapne ;)

  5. None of this is over estimation. It's just the way rest of the world has evolved from being in pre-historic shape to modern society. We unfortunately love to be in dark age. Or to say, the mass does not appreciate this as a viable possibility and have accepted the current situation. There are many sayings like
    God helps those who help themselves.
    Na hi suptasya singhasya pravishanti Mukhe mriga.
    and so on

    We are either going to be satisfied with articles such as this; or expect a contradiction of the age old truths said above.

  6. No doubt, very well knitted our dreams . Just prey all things come true for silchar . How about some mono rails! from bhowal to rangir khri!

  7. Well, may be I can give a suggestion for better roads. At least the ones connecting our three districts. In the pas couple of years I had the chance to visit North India quite a few times. All the infrastructure development taking place is not exactly Government done or controlled. Its more Privately controlled. To put it in a nut-shell, quite a few companies like JayPee Infra or Aditya Birla Group remain interested in bringing up expressway projects. These actually are good profit ventures for them, as expressways are mostly toll-roads. So what I am talking about is we can invite companies to build up their very own toll roads connecting the three distrcits as also roads to Agartala and Aizawl and make them a partner in the profits.

    Coaxing the Corporate Honchos wont be much of a problem when they actually learn about the amount of trucks, lorries and commercial vehicles plying on the way. Besides they are always welcome to build townships and profitable ventures on both sides of the highways. This wont be a problem as most roadways are surrounded by hillocks(non-agricultural land) on both sides. Once completed, this may boost up tourism in the region as well, as by and large Barak Valley has always been peaceful.

    The Key People - When political leader become a failure, academicians should come up. We have an NIT and a Central University in our region, which have a good rapport with the corporate sectors via training and placement programs. And its the perfect time to take the relation to the next level. Besides, when politicos can coax Businessmen from Calcutta to build a Private Medical College in Karimganj, my suggestion are far more simpler.

    The Downsides ???- May be the idea of paying extra 50 bucks for a road trip sounds extravagant, but it will be worth the money spent. And trust me this is going to be profitable for each one of us - upper or lower middle class. However there will always be our Sarkari roads totally toll-free.

    C'mon Silcharites, lets just show the world that we are educated and we know how to change the world around us - without having to wait for some DEV-ine force...!!!

    1. Ground fact is no Corporates are ever interested or will be interested , till our govt takes some stringent steps towards development.
      First and foremost fact is we dont have skilled labour in the region . We people are very laid back in our attitude too.
      Terrain is very difficult for any company like Jaypee or xyz. We must have some company within our region who is aware of the people,psyche and rather than a company which is an outsider.
      Adequate Financial Packages. See nobody will do work out of charity every big project needs money.As per NHAI a stretch of KM would cost you crores.So local govt shall fight to get these incentives and work with this companies to meet deadlines.I still wonder despite having abundant natural resources, technocrats in Assam seldom we have achieved somethng here. Someone shall seriously work on this points to move ahead.
      Trust me i am also a well wisher of Silchar and being a sylheti i also would like to see this development in my lifetim but thing is we shall have to change our mindset and shall start act upon

  8. In continuance of suggestion for privately built expressways in our region, I would like to add some points as to the viability of such a project.
    1. Transportation:- NE region, especially Barak Valley and the surrounding areas, does not have an expansive railway network. So it depends mostly upon trucks and lorries to transport essential commodities in the region. With bad roads, the truck owners have to spend more on fuel and vehicular maintenance. (Result: - Higher prices and more vehicular emissions). With better roads they sustain lesser expenditure. Even when they pay the toll, this will be lesser in comparison to the former expenses. Better roads will mean more mobilization of resources and finally more welfare.
    2. Housing Projects – Since the past 2-3 decades, people have been coming to Silchar/Barak Valley as a favored retirement retreat. With better residential options, more of the influx can be diverted to the region. Needless to say anyone would prefer a serene and peaceful place rather than a clogged apartment in Calcutta or any other metro. And, with upcoming medical and educational facilities that’ll make Barak Valley an educational hub, professionals like Doctors and Academicians would also be interested in staying on.
    3. SEZs – When we have shimmering 8-lane bifurcated roads on display, Corporate people can hardly resist to invest here, give them an SEZ or not. Given the manpower and other conditions most likely industries can be – Pharmaceutical, Construction materials, machine parts, tools etc.
    4. People and Economy –
    For the people – More and better jobs, better amenities, better educational and learning environments – all in all “the good life”
    For the economy – Even if the project is made tax-free, it’ll be good for the economy, considering the fact that Central funds never reach the people. A penny saved is better than a penny wasted. The money saved can be used to build up ancillary Govt. projects in the region – like rural roads, water supply, and electrification.
    5. Tourism – Along with housing projects, Hotels, Resorts, Animated parks, Malls and Public places will also start coming up in the natural course. NOW DID I JUST SEE THAT WHITE MAN AND HIS FAMILY LANDING AT KUMBHIRGRAM?????
    Now, if someone is still apprehensive about the time this is going to take, I repeat that this will be a corporate concern. And they better know, how to get the work done – On time !!!
    Thus it depends upon us, how we work things up.
    No conclusive summary. Just a one-liner from Gandhiji – BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

  9. @Anonymous: Brilliant suggestions indeed. Private investment can do wonders. once we have the roads, all other developments will become much faster. Great vision. Thanks

  10. Only dreams turn to reality...There is no harm in dreaming...


Silchar through the Lense