Justifying neglect

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/1/2018 12:03:03 PM IST

 Encroachments over railway land in Dimapur has been blamed for stagnating expansion plans and throwing every proposal for improvement of passenger amenities out of gear. Nagaland Post had been covering the issue of encroachment on railway land as well as issues of poor infrastructural facilities and train poor connectivity since mid-90s. Some improvements have been made though these were mostly as part of the railway plan and nothing exceptional. The point to note is that while minor stations in other parts of the north east like Lumding, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Mariani etc (in terms of revenue earning) are being pampered with passenger amenities; Dimapur has been left far behind. According to the officials of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) the major hurdle for expansion for development of Dimapur railway station has been legally unresolved issue of encroachment of land. According to railway officials, the entire Dimapur railway land is officially recorded as under “Certified Land Plan” since post independence. According to the NFR railway officials, the plan for improvement of passenger amenities in Dimapur was for construction of another track (No.3) for goods train so that the roofless passenger platform No. 2 can be widened from its current 4.6 meters to 9.2 meters to handle the huge number of travellers. In anticipation of the expansion and modernisation plans, the railways had also laid new tracks exclusively for goods trains. However, the proposed new track from Dimapur to Diphu passes through the railway bazaar and over which encroachments had taken place over the decades. Railways have a long-term plan to shift the current goods yard to Rangapahar area with initiation from the state government to develop the roads. Most unfortunately, encroachers have been issued with ownership deeds ‘pattas’ after statehood by some officials of the Nagaland state government. It appears that pattas were issued by wilfully violating the law since the lands were not free from encumbrances but belong to the railways since the time when the entire North East region were under Assam. This wilful act also seems to be the standard practise for all government lands which have been gradually surrendered to encroachers in the state. The ‘status quo’ order means nothing less than legal permit to remain in the land despite possessing land ownership deeds ‘pattas’ illegally issued by some officials. The railways had conducted eviction in railway bazaar in June 2014 under the Public Premises Eviction Act of 1971 in presence of state judicial magistrates. While 50 households were evicted but over a dozen produced land ownership deeds and took the matter to court. In such cases, the first action of any government worth its name is to set up an inquiry to ascertain who are responsible for violating the law. Granted, that land encroachment is an issue but NFR must also explain how some mandirs were allowed to be constructed right in the middle of the new ticketing area. The other is that even if encroachment is an issue, what prevents NFR from-(a) releasing more seats/quotas for Dimapur and (b) originating at least ten out of 40 trains from Dimapur? The above (a&b) arise because Dimapur railway station is the second highest revenue earner for the NFR and they speak on behalf of Dimapur station which deserves to be given adequate and commensurate amenities.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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