After a wait of 53 years, octogenarians Binoy Nandi and Birendra Kumar Shil of the border town of Belonia in Tripura once again heard the whistle of a train, with a CSR inspection team conducting a safety check on the newly built railway track from Santir Bazar to Belonia.
Commissioner of Railway Safety Sailesh Kumar Pathak along with senior officials of NF Railway on Sunday conducted the safety inspection of the 9.8 km long track between Santir Bazar and Belonia in South Tripura district.
"Inspection on the track was successful and the construction work was outstanding," he told reporters in Agartala.
During the inspection, some minor loopholes were identified which would be removed by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) authorities immediately and the track would be fully ready for trains after that, he said.
The sleepy town of Belonia, bordering the Indo-Bangla border, is 110 km from the state capital.
"I was awe-struck as soon as I heard the whistle of a train near my house.
"I used to hear the whistle blow 53 years ago as the train station on the Pakistan side was just two kilometres away from my town, but after the Indo-Pak war, the train line was removed," said Binoy Nandi, a retired head master of Vidyapith Higher Secondary School here.
He said, the other side of the border is known as Parashuram and the name of the railway station was Belonia, since people from Belonia town used to board trains from there.
"Till the Indo-Pak war broke out in 1965, our movement through East Pakistan was not restricted," Nandi said.
Birendra Kumar Shil, a retired librarian of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Government Degree College here, said the people of Belonia were able to enjoy railway service through East Pakistan even after partition of the country.
After conducting the inspection, Pathak said, "A passenger train can run on the track at 100 km per per hour without any trouble."
As per the procedure, the CRS will forward his observation to Railways Board for approval of running passenger train on the newly constructed track.
It is likely that people of Santir Bazar and Belonia will be able to board an Agartala-bound passenger train very soon, Kumar said.
The railway track from Santir Bazar to Belonia comprises 39 bridges, 24 minor bridges, 4 ROBs (Road Over Bridges), 10 RUB (Road under Bridges) and subways.
"Reviving this old route was a long standing demand of the locals," Nandi said.
The state is gradually appearing on the railway map of the country with conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge in 2016.
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