The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is reportedly investing over Rs 95,261 crore to execute 21 projects including connecting the capitals of the three northeastern states – Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya by 2023, and the capital of Nagaland, Kohima , by 2026, an official said on Friday.
The main city of Assam, Guwahati (adjacent capital of Dispur), the capital of Tripura, Agartala, and the Naharlagun of Arunachal Pradesh (adjacent to the capital Itanagar) are already connected to the rail network.
On Friday, NFR Public Relations Manager Sabyasachi De said that with the vision of connecting the remaining state capitals and also increasing the line’s capacity in the region, funds to the tune of Rs 51,787 crore have already been allocated.
The average annual funding allocation for the Northeast region over the past eight years is 254% higher than the average annual funding allocation in 2009-2014.
“While the works of laying new broad gauge railways are in progress to link Imphal and Aizawl, the works of laying new lines to link Shillong would not encounter many obstacles as there are no big mountains between Guwahati and Shillong,” De told IANS. .
He said the government has made every effort to improve rail connectivity in the northeast.
“The north-eastern region of the country has benefited from significant infrastructure reinforcement in the railway sector over the past eight years (2014-2022). Between 2014 and 2022, a total of 893.82 km of tracks have been converted to broad gauge, 386.84 km of new lines added, 356.41 km of double lines put into service and the study of 1,578 km of new lines have been completed,” he added.
CPRO said an investment of Rs 95,261.65 crore is planned in the region to complete 21 projects, which include linking the remaining state capitals in the region.
These ongoing projects have created a large number of jobs in the region for gainful employment of the locals and have also transformed the socio-economic landscape of the region.
The commissioning of the Bogibeel Bridge in 2018 was a proud moment for this region, the official said, adding that this longer road-rail bridge reduced the travel distance between eastern Assam and Delhi by 170 km and met a long-standing strategic need. Rail connectivity across the mighty Brahmaputra in Assam.
In addition to the new line and the doubling works, efforts have also been made to increase rail safety in the region. The NFR has eliminated all unmanned level crossing barriers in the area. Safer, more reliable and more comfortable LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches were introduced in 40 train pairs from the northeast.
The NFR official said the government firmly believes that the North East will be India’s new engine of growth and is working towards making it a reality.
The NFR is the nodal agency for the Rs 1000 crore Agartala (India) – Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway project, which was finalized in January 2010 when the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, met with the then Prime Minister of India , Manmohan Singh, during his visit to New Delhi.
On the new 12.24 km India-Bangladesh railway line, 5.46 km of railway is being laid in India (on the outskirts of the capital Agartala) and 6.78 km of railway would be laid on the side of the Bangladesh.
Once the Agartala-Akhaura railway project comes into operation, people from northeastern states, especially Tripura, can travel to Kolkata by train, saving 22 hours of travel time. Currently, locals, especially those from Tripura and its adjoining areas, travel to Kolkata via Guwahati by train, spending more than 38 hours.
The NFR, one of 17 railway zones in India, operates fully and partially in six of the eight northeastern states, excluding Meghalaya and Sikkim, and in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts of northern Bihar.
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