Railways planning to expand network in NE: Gohain

Railways planning to expand network in NE: Gohain
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Arunachal Express between Naharlagun-Anand Vihar flagged off

Itanagar, March 1: Union Minister Rajen Gohain today said the railways was planning to expand its network in the entire Northeast including Arunachal Pradesh.
“With the inauguration of the Bogibeel Bridge over Brahmaputra River likely in May-June this year, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will immensely benefit as the bridge will reduce distance between Itanagar and Eastern Arunachal districts,” the Union Minister of State for Railways said.
The minister informed that in the 2018-19 Union budget proposals have been made for electrification of Rangiya-Rangapara North-Harmutti-Naharlagun section of the broad gauge line with a total distance of 398 kilometre and the works would be executed by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE).
Gohain exuded confidence that all the states in northeast would be connected by rail network soon as survey and construction works are going on in most of the states except Meghalaya, where no land have been provided to the railways by the state government for laying railway line.
The Minister of State for Railways asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue of land compensation involving laying of broad gauge line from Murkongselek in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh at the earliest.
Flagging off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Arunachal Express at Naharlagun railway station along with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Gohain expressed dissatisfaction that the work on the 24.36 kilometre railway line has been stopped due to land compensation issue raised by the locals.
“The compensation amount claimed is more than the project cost for which works on the railway line has been stopped,” he said and appealed to the Arunachal Pradesh government to resolve the issue at the earliest by fixing reasonable compensation amount so that the project could be started soon.
Rijiju requested Gohain, the Minister of State for Railways to provide railway jobs to the youths of Arunachal Pradesh in all categories as per laid down norms.
The new train, known as ‘Arunachal Express’ would cover the 2013 kilometre distance between Naharlagun and Anand Vihar Terminal in little over 38 hours and would have 14 stoppages en-route.
With all air-conditioned LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches, the train would offer all comfort and facilities to the passengers, NFR general manager Lokesh Narayan said during the flagging off ceremony.
This is the second direct train for Arunachal Pradesh and 14th for North East to connect with the national capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Itanagar on February 15 last had announced increasing the frequency of the Naharlagun-New Delhi AC Express train from one day a week to twice and to rechristened it as the ‘Arunachal Express’.
Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein speaking on the occasion stated that development process had begun for Arunachal Pradesh with BJP-led NDA government at the Centre attaching priority to Northeast considering it as the engine of Growth for the country.
“The Centre is ready to help Arunachal Pradesh and we should take advantage of various projects like industrial corridor along the foothill areas of the state and frontier highway along the international border,” Mein said.
Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal East constituency Ninong Ering requested Gohain to initiate measures for construction of railway lines along the international border to answer China?s infrastructure development in the border.
Later talking to reporters, Gohain disclosed that the Railway ministry has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 400 crore for undertaking final location survey of Misamari-Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang line (378 km).
“Detailed project report will be prepared after completion of the survey and the work on the line will begin soon,” he added. (PTI)