With the COVID situation gradually improving, the Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) appealed to the state government to return the coaches to Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) used as COVID Care Coaches for the convenience of the passengers.
They also asked if the government could return the 300 coaches which were never used for resumption of as many as 23 pairs of local trains which remain suspended since March 2021 causing immense hardship to general people.
Assam Rail Passengers’ Association (ARPA) Secretary Dipankar Sharma said that there has been a delay in resumption of regular passenger services. “The railway authorities are currently operating services as special trains in some sections. But those are not enough to cater to the needs of the commuters. This is especially the case with regard to local services,” Sharma said.
He further stated that the commuters are facing inconvenience due to shortage of local services in Assam. The railway authorities informed that there is a shortage of coaches and that is one of the reasons why local train services have not been resumed in many parts of the state.
Sharma also informed that the NFR authorities said that over 300 coaches were handed to various state governments of this region for use as isolation coaches to treat COVID-19 patients during the second wave of the pandemic. “Although 300 coaches have been handed over by NFR, the coaches were not utilised by the respective state governments and their health departments and the coaches have also not been returned to NFR. Therefore, we appeal to the government to return the coaches so that the local train services could be resumed for the convenience of the general public,” Sharma added.
The ARPA said that quite a number of such coaches were put at the disposal of the Assam government and therefore, the organization called upon the state government to urgently look into the matter and take steps to hand over the coaches back to NFR.
The ARPA also sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in this regard and also urged the NFR to request the state government for the same.
The ARPA also demanded commencement of local train services using electric traction. Appreciating the fact that electrification work has been completed till Guwahati, the ARPA said that the local train services should now be run using electric traction.