68 years after independence, Silchar finally got a direct rail connectivity to the national capital on Saturday, opening many new possibilities of progress and development for the long neglected Barak Valley.
This month, two long distance express trains - the Sealdah bound Kanchanjunga Express and the New Delhi bound Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express have been started from Silchar. If the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu is to be believed, few more express trains for Agartala, Tinsukia, Mumbai and Chennai will be introduced in the coming months in a phased manner.
While many political pundits have termed this sudden rush in launching new trains as a political gimmick prior to the high voltage state polls, we wouldn’t mind it, as long as the people are benefitted. After all, this only indicates that the government is accountable to the people and can demand votes only if they have something concrete to show in terms of development.
A robust communication infrastructure is not only important for the convenience of the people, it is also important for the expansion of business, generation of employment opportunities and broadening of the horizons of the people. Larger interaction with mainland India will only give our people more exposure and confidence to take their valley forward towards a better future.
The current Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu must be complimented for showing interest in this region, which for long has remained neglected by the dispensations in Delhi. In his brief tenure so far, Prabhu has shown the necessary intent to refrain from taking populist measures and initiate reforms to improve the state of the Railways. Let us hope he continues to do the good work and focus on further boosting the railway infrastructure in the entire north eastern region.
The ensuing monsoon, however, will be an acid test for the Railway engineers since it will be a major challenge to keep the Badarpur – Lumding section operational during floods and landslides. If the newly constructed tunnels and bridges can withstand the onslaught of nature, we can rest assured that our valley will not remain isolated from the rest of the country anymore.
Along with railways, now it’s time for the central government to also give adequate focus to the completion of the Silchar – Saurashtra Mahasadak and the modernization of the Kumbhirgram airport. The impasse regarding the forest clearance for a stretch of the Mahasadak near Harangajao should be cleared at the earliest.
In addition, if the government can announce the construction of a new terminal building at the airport or at least launch operations after sunset, the electoral prospects of the ruling party at the centre will improve significantly.