The video starts with a person saying that he is 52 years old and has seen trains only on television and cinemas. It is ironic to hear that, because, now in 2022, India ranks number 4 in the World’s largest railway network.
This is Bastar, Chattisgarh - famous for having one of the highest deposits of Iron ore in India. They have trains, but only goods trains to carry the iron ore and no passenger trains yet. For the general populace, their closest Railway junction is Raipur, about 300 kilometres away. Whenever they need to travel far, be it for health, education or business related issues, they have to reach Raipur in Bus or in other transport, and then get the train to their destinations.
They have been demanding a railway line for passengers for the last 50 years. The Bastar Chambers of Commerce and Industries are also a part of this agitation, together with various local organisations and citizens. They have been given assurances often about opening up a Railway track, but it has never seen the light of the day. In 2015, the Prime Minister himself assured them that by 2022, they will have a Public railway line. In fact, the Railway Minister even inaugurated the construction, but now you can see only the banners of that function fluttering away.
The people of Bastar are agitated that even after 7 decades of independence, the Government could not start a railway track in Bastar, so they organised one 150 kilometre long walk, to raise this issue. They are calling it ‘Rail Jodo’ (Connect us with Rails) walk - people from across the demographics of Bastar are participating in this walk.
A railway line is a multiplier and an accelerator, of trade and industry, employment, access to health, medication and education, in fact it is a vital organ in any state craft. Hope the Railway ministry and the Government will heed soon to the people's demands and a passenger railway line will connect Bastar with rest of India.
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