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NF Railway facing grave menace of ENCROACHMENT ON RAILWAY LAND

: Encroachment o­n Railway land is emerging to be a major problem being faced by NF Railway. With About 164.50 hectare of Railway land  under encroachment and about 20,837 recorded cases of encroachments o­n railway land, especially in station and railway residential areas, the problem is fast emerging to be a major impediment for smooth working of railways in Assam. Encroachments are also proving to be a serious obstruction to execution of developmental projects and expansion works of N. F. Railway all over Assam.

Major projects like  development of Agiathori  as a World Class Station and other amenities at Amingaon area, work of new Pitline and Sick line at New Guwahati, expansion and upgradation of circulating areas of railway stations at Silchar,Hojai , Diphu, Tangla ,and Chaparmukh are all getting hampered because of encroachment in railway area. In Guwahati area, development of an alternative entry road to Kamakhya railway stationto ease out congestion is also not taking off due to illegal occupation of railway land by encroachers. Development of rail connectivity  to Pandu port of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) from Kamakhya station which is a long standing demand for the economic growth of the region is also plagued by encroachment issues.

At many of these encroached areas unauthorised markets are being run in the vicinity of railway tracks. This not o­nly endangers safety of the people who throng these markets but also results in accumulation of garbage o­n tracks causing clogging of drains. It is to be mentioned that dumping of garbage by encroachers along the tracks right from Kamakya station to Guwahati and further to New Guwahati area has been a major reason for clogging of drains leading to inundation of tracks and surrounding areas during heavy showers leading to suspension of railway traffic

The areas under encroachment often become havens for all kinds of anti social elements like drug peddlars and bootleggers which is a serious manace to all peace loving residents of society. This problem is particularly acute in Guwahati station area where frequent theft of railway property has been reported mostly carried out by residents of shanties which occupy both side of the track in Guwahati-Kamakhya area. Incidents of stone pelting, theft of signalling cables, components from stabled coaches are frequent in Guwahati area. Even cleanliness and hygiene of Guwahati station has been adversely effected by such rampant encroachments.

NF Railway has taken steps to tackle this menace under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971, by carrying out frequent evcition drives with the involvement of local law enforcing agencies. There has been several meetings with senior officials of state government and joint inspections were also carried out. The Commissioner & Secretary of Home & Political Department of Govt. of Assam had written to all Deputy Commissioners and Commissioners of Police for providing adequate security to railway administration for carrying out eviction. However stronger action at ground level is called for because future of many developmental projects and safety and security of the common railway passengers of the region rests o­n how suceessfully the manace of encroachment is tackled.

(Pranav Jyoti Sharma)

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