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19 Feb 2018

No changes in Darj Mail route: Ahluwalia

SNS, 18 FEBRUARY, Siliguri: Darjeeling MP and union minister of state for drinking water and sanitation, SS Ahluwalia, has said the route of the prestigious train, Darjeeling Mail, cannot be extended to Alipurduar. 
Addressing a programme organized to inaugurate a Passport Seva Kendra in Siliguri here yesterday, Mr Ahluwalia said, "We can understand the importance of Alipurduar, which is connected with north eastern states and even Bhutan.However, their demand (for extension of the train to Alipurduar) is unacceptable,"
Terming Darjeeling Mail, which runs between New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Sealdah, as a' heritage train,' Mr Ahluwalia said: "Following their demand, another super fast train from Alipurduar to Kolkata can be introduced, but the Darjeeling Mail can't be extended from NJP."
"The British introduced Darjeeling Mail in 1878 to run the East India Company and it is now a heritage train. As a result, its route cannot be extended beyond., it is now a heritage train. As a result, its route cannot hbe extended beyond NJP," he added_
It may be noted that several political leaders belonging to different political parties and different groups had protested after people in Alipurduar staged demonstrations over the last few weeks, demanding that the Darjeeling Mail be taken to the district ill the Dooars.
As word of a purported decision to extend the train's route to Alipurduar spread, and protests and objections escalated , the North eastern Frontier Railway recently clarified that there were no plans to extend Darjeeling Mail's route beyond from NJP.
Meanwhile, a voluntary youth organization that tfights for social awareness, Joy Bangla, met Mr Ahluwalia and demanded Siliguri be made a Smart City. Joy Bangle team members pointed out that the state government has marked only four towns-New Town Kolkata, Haldia, Durgapur and Bidhannagar-as Smart Cities.
It may be mentioned that Mr Ahluwalia assured the audience yesterday that the Siliguri Railway Station, which has a rich history in connection with great men including Rabindranath Tagore and Netaji, will be developed.

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