Guwahati: One more northeastern state capital would be connected by railway by next year and three of the remaining four between 2024 and 2026, a railway official said on Thursday February 3.
Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) General Manager Anshul Gupta said that of the ongoing new railway projects – the 45-km-long Sivok-Rangpo (close to Gangtok) in Sikkim would be completed next year while the 111-km-long Jiribam-Imphal in Manipur and 52-km-long Bairabi-Sairang (in Aizawl district) in Mizoram would be commissioned in 2024, and the 83-km-long Dimapur-Zubza (near Kohima) in Nagaland would be completed in 2026.
“Meghalaya’s commercial town Byrnihat (73 km from Shillong) would be linked by the railway line when the works of the under construction new 22-km-long railway project would be completed in March next year,” Gupta told the media in a virtual talk.
Assam’s main city of Guwahati (adjoining capital Dispur), Tripura capital Agartala, and Arunachal Pradesh’s Naharlagun (adjacent to capital city Itanagar) are already connected on railway networks.
Gupta also said that the railways has been focusing about the international railway connectivity, particularly with Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“Necessary works are now underway to connect India with the three neighbouring countries Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh,” he said, adding that the railway’s ultimate goal is to achieve the economic growth of the northeastern region by optimising logistic services.
Expressing satisfaction over the railway budget for the northeastern region, he said that Rs 11,428.86 crore has been allocated for the NFR and the allocation is 370 per cent more than the average of 2009-14 (Rs 2,122 crore per year).
Gupta said that the budget allotment for the 2022-23 for the northeastern states is 44 per cent more than the previous year’s allotment of Rs 6,913 crore.
He also said that adequate funds have been allotted for faster connectivity in the NE region by doubling High Density Network sections along with electrification of the entire network for seamless connectivity.
The NFR GM also said that Vistadome train services have been introduced recently on tourist routes Tinsukia-Naharlagun, Guwahati-Badarpur, New Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar, and Guwahati – Naharlagun. Vistadome coaches have also been attached to the Joy Ride services in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway section.
He also announced that electrification of track is completed up to Guwahati and work for 100 per cent electrification of NFR routes is also going on, as this will give a boost to the economy of northeastern states and it will bring NFR at par with other electrified railways.
Gupta said that farmers of NE states can now send fruits, vegetables and other perishable products to outside markets by using the services of Kisan Rail. “50 per cent subsidy is allowed for transportation of all fruits and vegetables through these trains. Refrigerated parcel van to carry pineapple and other fruits and vegetables from the northeast region to other parts of India is also available for booking,” he added.