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"Dullabcherra-Silchar train demand is being considered but GM did not personally confirm," Suhanan Chanda, NF Railway

On December 20, 2019, published a news article stating, “New passenger train to run soon in Barak Valley.” In the story, Greater Dullabchengshrra Progressive Citizens Forum president, Angshuman Paul was quoted, “We are demanding another passenger train between Silchar & Dullabcherra from past many years for which we submitted many memorandums to Prime Minister and Railway Minister. GM, over a telephonic conversation, informed me that a new train has been proposed connecting Silchar-Dullabcherra and has been sent to Railway Board for approval.”

The same news, which was based on a press release disseminated by the forum was carried by most of the local dailies on December 10 and 11. The story was widely read and shared on social media platforms and that caught the attention of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NF Railway).

New passenger train to run soon in Barak Valley

CPRO, NF Railway, Suhanan Chanda released a statement that stated, “The news about the introduction of a new passenger train connecting Dullabcherra to Silchar which has been spreading through some digital media platform has come to the notice of NF Railway authority. The news also quoted GM NF Railway about telephonically informing about the same. In view of the above NF Railway authority would like to clarify the GM / NF Railway did not telephonically inform anyone about the same moreover no such proposal has been sent to Railway Board as claimed in the said news item. NF Railway authority would like to ensure that new passenger trains in the Barak Valley area will be considered depending on the feasibility and availability of necessary resources.”

While speaking with Barak Bulletin, Chanda reiterated that “Dullabcherra – Silchar train demand is being considered but GM did not personally confirm this to anyone over the telephone.” He added, “It has been mentioned that the proposal has been sent to the railway board. That is factually incorrect. For running a passenger train sending a proposal to the railway board is not required. We have not sent any proposal or report to the railway board.”
“It is true that there is a demand from the public for a train connecting Dullabcherra to Silchar and it is being considered. NF Railway assures that a train will be provided depending on availability of resources and feasibility.”

Forum’s president, Angshuman Paul, who disseminated the press release on December 9, 2019, still sticks to it. “I have read the statement issued by the NF Railway and have gone through the reports published in local dailies which even brought the name of the forum. I would like to make it clear, that I dialed GM’s number and we spoke for about 4 minutes 11 seconds on December 9, 2019, at around 1:00 PM. Now if someone else addressed himself as the GM when I dialed his number and spoke with him is for the NF Railway to investigate. If they want, they can check the call records. All calls in and out of my phone get recorded and I have a recording of that call too.”

Normally, all official communications regarding new trains or cancellation are routed through the PRO. Suhanan Chanda’s office did not release any statement announcing a new train. The press release was issued by the forum on the basis of the claimed telephonic conversation. “It is possible that the GM could have spoken with an activist out of goodwill, but that does not warrant anyone to turn it into a press release. The PRO is there for a reason and before releasing the press release the forum should have got in touch with the PRO for a formal statement. What was the hurry? At the same time, it is the responsibility of the publications to get in touch with the PRO and ask for clarification before blindly rehashing the press release,” said a professor in the mass communication department, who wished not to be named.

As it turns out, the NF Railway is aware of the demands for a train between Dullabcherra – Silchar and has assured that a train will be provided depending on the availability of the resources and feasibility. The railway has termed all the quotes attributed to the GM as factually incorrect, as according to them the GM never had a telephonic conversation on this. Paul sticks to his stance and maintains that GM said everything he mentioned in the press release and he has the call on record.

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