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July 09, 2009

Call to re-route Silchar-Guwahati BG line via Lanka

KARIMGANJ, July 8 – The demand for rerouting Silchar-Guwahati BG line avoiding Lumding seems to be getting stronger. President of Shuruwat, an NGO Dipankar Ghosh has made this rerouting demand.
According to Ghosh, conversion of the existing MG line via Lumding into BG would not solve any problem. The perennial landslide problems would still remain. If the BG line is rerouted via Umrangsu, the distance between Silchar and Guwahati would be reduced by 90 km. No tunnel would be required for this new alignment and the number of bridges would also be much less.
In 1984, the Railway Ministry conducted a feasibility survey and suggested the construction of a new BG line between Lanka and Silchar. The hilly section in this proposed route would be much less and as a result it would be less prone to landslide.
The ‘Shuruwat’ president feels that rerouting of the BG line via Lanka would be beneficial for Barak Valley, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. Moreover, this line could be built with much less money. It might not cost more than Rs 1000 crore. Whereas the likely cost of Silchar-Lumding line had been estimated at Rs 2500 crore and might escalate to Rs 15000 crore, said Ghosh.
He appealed to the people of the Barak Valley to raise their voice in support of BG line rerouting via Lanka.
Forest revenue: Lowairpoa Range under Karimganj Forest Division has set a record in collecting revenue.
After joining as ranger, AK Deb Choudhury launched a massive drive in collecting forest revenue. During last three years he was able to collect Rs 19 lakh as revenue from timber and furniture traders. Besides collecting record revenue he lodged 26 cases against timber smugglers.
While talking to this correspondent Deb Choudhury informed that although in 1975. State Government had allotted 50 bighas of land among 25 pan cultivators for a period of three years, now in Lowairpoa range altogether 104 tribal families are living illegally. They have forcibly occupied about 900 bighas of forest land.
Poor people from Patiala, Kalacherra, Longai, Jerjeri, Kotamoni, Bazari Cherra used to smuggle valuable logs from the forest. To check the smuggling the ranger engaged the poor people of these villages in producing bamboo mat. For this a trained instructor from Tripura is now imparting training to the villagers.
As Lowairpoa range is situated along Tripura and Mizoram borders, extremists also shelter. Lowairpoa range consists of five beat offices and forest guards do the patrolling round the clock to check timber smuggling; disclosed Deb Choudhury. (Source - Assam Tribune)

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