Nagaland Express taken to Ledo

Nagaland Express taken to Ledo
A view of Dimapur railway station platform. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, DEC16 (NPN) | Publish Date: 12/16/2020 12:24:43 PM IST


Thousands of people travelling by trains to and from Dimapur, were elated when Nagaland Express was introduced on November 5, 2011, between Kamakhya Junction to Dimapur Railway Station (DMV) and terminating (holding back) at Dimapur.
However, the nine-year joy has turned to despair, when Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials at Maligaon decided to extend the Nagaland Express to Ledo and no longer terminate at Dimapur but at Ledo.
The decision to extend Nagaland Express beyond Dimapur and to terminate at Ledo, was disclosed by NFR officials in an exclusive interview with Nagaland Post. The NFR officials disclosed that the termination point of Nagaland Express will be at Ledo Station (LEDO), 157 kms away from Mariani Station. They disclosed that the order for the proposed extension was received from Chief Passenger Transportation Manager (CPTM), Maligaon, during the first week of December. 
The NFR officials also revealed that the order for extension of Nagaland Express to Ledo was received during the first week of December and proposed to be implemented from December 15, 2020.
This means drastic reduction in ticket quota for Dimapur, the second highest revenue earner for NFR and resulting in greatly reduced stoppage time.
This had earlier happened with the Jan Shatabdi, flagged off in 1996 by then Union Railway minister late Ram Vilas Paswan. Jan Shatabdi was meant to link state capitals and though Dimapur is not the state capital, yet it was included being the only railhead in Nagaland. After extension of Jan Shatabdi beyond Dimapur, seat quota was also reduced along with stoppage time. Also those travelling by Jan Shatabdi from Dimapur, have to buy tickets of Jorhat or Furkating.
NFR officials claimed that the extension was necessitated due to decrease in number of train passengers at Dimapur due to COVID-19 pandemic. The officials said on an average, there were presently fifty to sixty travellers in a day.
However, instead of getting more trains to meet the growing number of travellers at Dimapur which has earned huge revenue for NFR, the officials claimed that Dimapur railway station lacked basic facilities to be a termination point such as-- AC coach, proper water supply, cleaning etc.
This specious argument was sought to be justified only on these counts although the huge revenue earned by Dimapur railway station handling some 4000 to 5000 passengers every day, did not matter. They said Ledo has all the facilities even though it (Ledo) has only a fraction of number of travellers as compared with Dimapur.
The NFR officials also justified extension of Nagaland Express to Tinsukia and Ledo on the assumption that it will help cater to the needs of passengers from other railway stopping points. 
When it was pointed out that in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period not less than 600 to 700 passengers travelled by Nagaland Express to and from Dimapur, the officials maintained that there were chances that more coaches would be added to avoid such problems. However, they could not confirm if additional coaches would be provided. 
Talking to Nagaland Post, a member of the Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (ZRUCC), said that the proposed extension was totally unjust and unfair for the train travellers of Dimapur, nearby Karbi Anglong and Manipur. 
After first taking away the Jan Shatabdi to Jorhat followed by Nagaland Express to Ledo, the only train to terminate at Dimapur will be the BG Express. 
It may be pointed out that some 40 trains pass through Dimapur but hardly stop for more than five minutes.

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