“More than my illness traveling became a major issue”, says Mitrakanta Hazarika who hails from Duliajan adds honestly : “While coming we need to travel by bus till Guwahati for almost 12-15 hrs and then by train for 55 hours to reach Mumbai”. Similarly Mr Bikash Gogoi from Doom Dooma, who needs to travel to Mumbai every six months for follow up treatment echoes “coming and going, both the journeys are equally painful. We need to bear extra 12-15 hrs of bus traveling to reach our destination”.”We simply need a direct train till Dibrugarh,which will ease our traveling” repeats Ashok Sharma from Shivsagar who travels to Mumbai othen for his treatment.
Like him, thousands of Cancer patients who come to Mumbai every year for further treatments vouch for the same painful traveling issue for not having a direct train in between Mumbai to Dibrugarh.. Hence it has became a key issue for the Assam Association a body representing all Assamese people residing in Mumbai to voice for a direct train from Mumbai to Dibrugarh.
“Years after years we are pleading for the direct train between Mumbai and Dibrugarh but it’s going to the deaf years” exclaimed Paban Kataky,President Assam Association Mumbai and adds “ we have been writing to Railway Ministry, Chief Minister of Assam, and to all NE Mps since ages but in vein”. The Assam Association has been pleading for this for the past 10 years, although the appeal remained unheard by concerned authority. Assam Association is following up with the Railway Ministry and people concerned for the benefit of the entire land. Assam Association, Mumbai is a non political, non governmental organization establishes in 1990 and engaged into various activities like exchanging culture and art between Maharashtra and NE region, helping Cancer Patients with all possible ways - providing that much needed helping hand to the plethora of cancer patients landed in Mumbai for treatment on a regular basis. Association is ever ready to extend care in whatever way possible and try to bring back the lost smile and glow in the faces of those hapless sufferers of this deadly disease.
It may be mentioned that thousands of patients come out every year from Assam, NE region to Mumbai for further treatment. According to media reports quoting experts, Mizoram tops the rate of cancer patients in the North-East with an incidence of 200 in 100,000 annually. For the rest of the North-East, the average is 75 to 125 per 100,000. The numbers in North-East are much higher than the national average. Due to poor financial condition all patients cannot afford to fly hence Railways is the only option left. Similarly huge chunk of students come to Mumbai and Pune for studies as well who too opt for train journey.
It is a known fact that there is only one (1) direct train between Mumbai and Guwahati (LTT Mumbai Guwahati Express 15647) and frequency is thrice in a week. It’s a long journey of approx 55 hrs from Guwahati to Mumbai which is a very painful event especially for cancer patience.
“It is terrible to see cancer patients travelling for 55 hrs to reach Mumbai and follow the medical procedure” asserts Mr. Deepen Rajkhowa, Secretary Assam Association Mumbai who has been extending helping hand to all cancer patients since decades. Mr.Rajkhowa finds the need of a direct Train is much needed as it will also develop our Tourism prospects. “it will boost tourism for entire NE” echoes Mr. Rajkhowa.
More than 2000 (+) cancer patients come only from Assam to Mumbai every year and if we break it into locality wise, we will realize that major chunk (around 65-70 %) are from upper Assam. Considering the no of patients the need of a direct train from Dibrugarh to Mumbai-stand as genuine demand .However it’s a long pending requirement which need to be attended across. On the other hand the existing train to Guwahati, cannot cater to the requirement of patience from far off localities like Tinsukia. Shivsagar etc as they need to travel extra 10-15 hrs by bus to reach home.
It is very painful to reach Guwahati as our train are always late, it’s even more painful to wait for the Night Buses and to reach Tinsukia” says Mr.Balin Sonowal,hails from Tinsukia who is undergoing treatment for Cancer in Mumbai. He continues “Patients who come from Lidoo and other far part of Assam need to bear extra 15-20 hrs of exhausting hours just because Guwahati is the last destination”.
It is not only the cancer patience who will be benefited out of the direct train, but also the sizable Assamese population residing in Mumbai whose relatives are based in NE region. Correspondingly students will get to enjoy the facility as during pick season they find it difficult to avail a confirm ticket.
From Tourism prospects it will enhance the tourism scenario as well. Introduction of the direct train will encourage more tourist to visit NE region, which will ultimately result in building national integrity. .
Similarly it will play a vital role in strengthening the connectivity between NE and the financial capital of the country which may usher economic growth for our region.