Darjeeling MP Raju Bista met Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to discuss several points including strengthening railway network in the North Bengal region.
MP Raju Bista in his statement wrote:
I met with Hon'ble Railway Minister Sh. Ashwini Vaishwaw ji and brought to his attention some pressing issues concerning Railways in Darjeeling and North Bengal region. Given that our region is strategically located as the gateway to NE India, and is the only part in the nation, which shares four international borders, strengthening railway network here is very important.
I informed the Minister how Siliguri being the financial capital of North Bengal is one of the most important cities in the state, and there requested him to introduce high-speed 'Vande Bharat' train connecting Siliguri to Kolkata (Up/Down), and for expediting the upgradation of the New Jalpaiguri Railway station into a world-class station providing all passenger services and facilities.
I also informed him, how due to the lack of proper medical facilities in North Bengal, thousands of people from our region travel to Hyderabad in Telangana, and Chennai and Vellore in Tamil Nadu, and Bengalauru in Karnataka for their medical treatment. Hence, I have requested for a South-bound train originiating from Sevoke or Siliguri for Hyderabad, Chennai, Katapadi (Vellore) and Bengaluru.
Further, given that thousands of people and students from our region live in Delhi, and North Bengal being located in a critical geography which connects NE India to rest of India, and borders Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, it attracts a large number of people on a daily basis, and many of them need to travel to Delhi. I have therefore requested for a Superfast Express train connecting Siligui/NJP to Delhi, to be started at the earliest.
Given that Siliguri was one of the first stations to be developed in North Bengal, I have requested the Hon'ble Minister to initiate proper conservation, beautification, and maintenance of the historical Siliguri Town Railway Station. I have also requested him to permanently help resolve the issue concerning settlement of locals in Railway lands, so that there is no further encroachments, while those already settled are provided relief. Further, I have reuqested Ashiwini ji to include Siliguri, Darjeeling, Sukna, Tindharey, Kurseong and Ghoom railway stations in the "Azadi ka Amrit" heritage celebrations.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is one of the best examples of human inguenity, and it is because of this virtue DHR was the first mountain railway to be accorded the World Heritage Status by the UNESCO. Hence it is our duty to preserve this heritage for the posterity. I have therefore, requested Hon'ble Minister for the upgradation of Tindharey Railway Workshop and converting it into a Narrow Gauge Loco Manufacturing workshop for both Steam and Diesel engines. This will be the world’s only such manufacturing unit for 2 feet gauge Narrow Gauge loco. I have further requested for the establishment of a railway hospital at Tindharey, which will not only provide medical help to the locals, but railway staff from across North Bengal and the nation can benefit from it.
Drawing the attention of Hon'ble Minister to the acute manpower shortage faced by DHR, and the numerous vacant posts in DHR, I have requested him to fulfill all the vacant posts at the earliest. Given that DHR is intricately linked to tourism, I have requested the Minister to help modernize Darjeeling, Ghoom and Kurseong Railway stations, having all facilities for locals and tourists including places for staying, health unit, and other related facilities. I have also requested for the redevelopment of the iconic Batasia loop into a tourism and cultural heritage Centre.
I informed Hon'ble Minister why the establishment of a Trauma Centre along Sevoke-Rangpo rail line is necessay, and for IRCON to provide proper compensation to the villagers living in the vicinity of the Sevoke-Rangpo rail line.
I have also requested Ashwini ji to ensure that Railway signboards in the region are written in local languages including Nepali, which is a recognized language under the VIIIth Schedule of our Constitution.
Hon'ble Minister has assured me that he will do his best to accomodate my requests, and in due course of time all will be fullfilled.
I remain committed to developing Darjeeling constituency and North Bengal as one of the best railway connected regions in the nation.