Tripura govt demands immediate improvement of railway service

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Agartala, Nov 11 (UNI) The Tripura government has demanded to upgrade the train service from Agartala with new coaches and all basic amenities while urged to launch passenger train service upto Dharmanagar as well as reschedule the timings.

A six-member delegation, led by Chief Commercial Manager (CCM) J D Goswami of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), yesterday visited Agartala railway station and held meeting with state Transport Minister Manik Dey and assured to take up the demands with higher authorities.

Mr Dey expressed concern over poor service and irregular train movements between Agartala-Lumding and Agartala-Silchar.

No train could reach or leave Agartala as per schedule and there were delays even upto six hours every day. Besides, basic facilities like water, electricity and cleanliness were absent in the trains, Mr Dey pointed out.

According to report, both pairs of trains to and from Agartala were old and abandoned and the matter was brought to the notice of the authorities before launching the commercial service but no action was taken yet.

Mr Dey underlined that because of inadequate signal men in railway crossing in several locations between Agartala and Dharmanagar, the movement of the trains got delayed every time and other infrastructure like drinking water facility, manpower and ticket booking systems had not been installed in the stations.

He demanded to upgrade the facilities and service quality of the trains, besides replacement of the coaches at the earliest while asking to convert Lumding-Agartala rail line into broad gauge by 2009.

Meanwhile, the NFR delegation assured that basic amenities and improvement of service qualities would be taken care of but introduction of AC and modern coaches and increase in the number of passenger coaches as well as running separate cargo trains would not be possible because of metre gauge railway tracks and security reason.

''We shall recommend the authorities to reschedule the timings of Agartala-Silchar train and make it depart in the morning from Agartala and afternoon from Silchar. Local train service between Agartala and Dharmanagar would also be considered,'' NFR CCM J D Goswami said.

Mr Goswami maintained that four more Passenger Reservation Counters (PRC) would be set up soon in Kailashahar (North Tripura), Ambassa (Dhalai district), Agartala Railway Station and Udaipur (South Tripura).

The NFR officials also met all three MPs of the state, Chief Secretary Shasi Prakash and DGP Pranay Sahay and discussed the security and various administrative issues.

''It is unfortunate, despite huge crowd and demand in Tripura, the railway authorities launched service here with abandoned trains but in case of Kashmir they introduced most modern and new coaches,'' Left Front MP from Tripura Khagen Das said here today.

Mr Das demanded to spend all 10 per cent allocation of the Railway Ministry in the region as per the decision of the Union Cabinet, which was not followed by the earlier governments as well as replacement of the passenger coaches running across 1,800 kms of the Northeastern region.

The regular passenger train service was launched from and to Agartala on October 5 but despite huge rush of passengers, railway authorities had failed to provide basic service, which irked both the passengers and the state government.

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