Several women’s organizations in Dima Hasao district, Assam, have voiced their strong opposition to the proposed Lanka-Silchar alternative rail route via Chandranathpur, saying it will lead to ‘another massive destruction’ of the environment local.
They claimed that the massive damage caused to the Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section by rains and landslides last month revealed the “unscientific” project carried out by the railways before, and that the alternative route will be also face similar risks.
The existing section was badly damaged by heavy torrential rains and massive landslides in mid-May this year with breaches in more than 60 places, leading to disruption of rail communications with Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the south of Assam. The route has not yet been fully restored.
In a letter to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday, the organizations objected to the government’s decision to introduce an alternative railway route from Lanka (Hojai district) to Silchar (Cachar) via Chandranathpur (also Cachar). .
They claimed that an amount of Rs 43.23 crore was sanctioned for the final whereabouts investigation.
They called for the decision to be revoked with immediate effect as it was made “arbitrarily and without consideration of the stakeholders and local government in our district”.
The entire district is facing destruction of all kinds due to ”complete technical failure by the Railway Authority in carrying out the Lumding-Silchar Broad Gauge Conversion Project”, the letter, signed by Association of Mothers of Dimasa, Dibarai Mahila Samiti, Association of Mothers of Zeme, Dimasa Mahila Samiti and Gorkha Naan Sangharsh Sangh, affirmed.
They alleged that the railways had failed to apply scientific knowledge in the existing Lumding-Silchar section, which had destroyed and fragmented the ecosystem of the hill district.
They claimed that the rail safety commissioner had suggested the railways hire experts in the field of geotechnology to take preventative action in 2015 itself. But instead of fixing the flaws, the road was opened to passenger train traffic the same year.
A PIL was recently filed with the Gauhati High Court regarding the “failure” to implement the suggestions given by the commissioner and the authorities were given four weeks by the court to file their response.
They claimed that the authorities had ignored an official report from 2009 which highlighted the difficulties and future risks when carrying out the work to convert the gauge of the existing section.
If the proposed alternative route is built, it will once again affect the natural environment of flora and fauna in the neighborhood, which had already been disturbed during the jig conversion project, the letter said.
Some of the land that will be covered by the proposed alternate route is included within the boundaries of a proposed new National Wildlife Sanctuary in the district, and this will also negatively impact migratory birds that visit the district during winters and are a major tourist attraction. .
The organizations said the proposed alternative route bypasses most of the major towns and settlements in the district, while the existing route serves more than half of the district’s total population.
While claiming that the alternative route was “not acceptable and non-negotiable” for the population, the organizations demanded that the “technical flaws” of the existing route be properly reassessed and reconstructed “scientifically”.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)