DIMAPUR, JULY 26 (MExN): The Railway Contractors Union Nagaland (RCUN) has claimed that the Nagaland state government and the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) are equally to blame for the festering issue of encroachment of railway land in Dimapur.
The RCUN, in a press release, said that the issue is “not an immediate one” and that the two entities should have tackled the matter early on. The issue, it said, demands the setting up of an SIT by the state government to investigate the “corruption,” while booking and penalizing the officials involved as per the provisions of law.
The RCUN said it has been pursuing the matter with the appropriate authorities since many years. It recalled writing to the Deputy Commissioner, Dimapur, in May 2020, “to take up the matter of unauthorized encroachment and construction on Railway Land.” However, it claimed that the district authority never handled the matter. “The result is that over the years, many illegal constructions including numerous temples have been built within the periphery of the Dimapur Railway Station thus obstructing the expansion and development,” it said.
According to it, the state government is expected to take stern steps for releasing all the railway land from illegal encroachments. “Otherwise, it may very well be presumed that the State Government does not have any political will to let one of the oldest Railway Stations to develop as per the needs and aspirations of the people.” It also questioned why the NFR did not take up the matter early on “instead of waiting so long for it to unfold?” The perceived inaction of the NFR, it held, displays lack of seriousness to develop the Dimapur Railway Station despite having the means act. It questioned, “Is it because, they are hand in gloves with the State Government whereby they are giving such silly excuses for not developing the Dimapur Railway Station and diverting the Railway Projects to either Zubza or Chumukedima?”
It referenced how two trains originating from Dimapur – Nagaland Express and Jan Shatabdi – were “hijacked to Ledo and Jorhat respectively right under the nose of the State Government under some or the other pretext.” Despite being the NFR’s highest Per-Capita Revenue earning Railway Station with potential to grow further, the RCUN lamented what it termed was the former’s “step-motherly treatment.”
Given the circumstance, as alleged, it wondered whether plans to expand and upgrade the Dimapur Railway Station “will also be hijacked in favor of the other newer and less significant Railway Stations.” It further termed the NFR shifting blame on land encroachment for not developing the railway station as “full of malice and highly questionable,” while stating that the public cannot be fooled by such excuses “as they know very well that trains being hijacked to other stations cannot be attributed to land encroachments.”
“Another pertinent question is regarding the indifferent attitude of the VVIPs towards the issue of upgrading of Dimapur Railway Station,” it said. It questioned if it is because of the VVIPs becoming habituated to air travel and thus losing the “common touch.”