Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal on November 22nd, 2019, said that the works to connect the capitals of the Northeastern states with rail network are under progress.
In a written reply to a question, Goyal said, “The capitals of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura States have been connected by Broad Gauge (BG) rail network already. Works of new BG lines have been taken up by the Railway through Government of India fund to connect the remaining capitals of Northeastern States – Shillong (Meghalaya), Imphal (Manipur), Kohima (Nagaland), Aizawl (Mizoram) and Gangtok (Sikkim).”
Talking about the slow progress of the new line projects of capital connectivity, the Minister said, “In some States, the progress of new line projects of capital connectivity has been affected mainly due to delay in land acquisition and law and order issues.”
Besides, talking about the centre’s effort to connect the all the state with the rail network, the Goyal said, “Great emphasis has been given by Central Government during last five years towards quick execution of infrastructure and safety projects and funding to the infrastructure projects has increased considerably on Indian Railways.”
He further informed that the average annual expenditure in New Line/ Gauge Conversion/ Doubling infrastructure projects during 2014-19 was Rs 26,022 crore per year as against Rs 11,527 crore per year during 2009-14 which is around 126 per cent more than during 2009-14. “Similarly, the average budget allotment per year for the North Eastern States was Rs 2,122 crore per year from 2009-14. However, it increased by 161 per cent to Rs 5,531 crore per year for this region during 2014-19,” he added.
Present status of the current projects:
Manipur: The project of BG line connectivity from Jiribam to Imphal (110.62 km) in Manipur State was sanctioned in 2003-04. The latest anticipated cost of the project is Rs 13,809 crore and expenditure of Rs 8,487.74 crore has been incurred up to March 2019.
The section from Jiribam to Vangaichungpao (12 km) was commissioned in March 2017 and works from Vangaichungpao-Tupul-Imphal (98.62 km) have been taken up throughout the length.
Mizoram: The project of BG line connectivity from Bhairabi to Sairang (51.38 km) (suburban city of Aizawl, the Capital city of Mizoram) in Mizoram was sanctioned in 2008-09. The latest anticipated cost of the project is Rs 5,021.45 crore and the land could be made available in 2014-15 and work speeded up from 2015-16 & the expenditure of Rs 2,671.85 crore has been incurred on the project upto March, 2019.
The construction work has been taken up throughout the length of the project and 87 per cent tunnelling work has been completed and the work on 6 tall bridges has been taken up.
Nagaland: The project of BG line connectivity from Dimapur (Dhansiri) – Zubza (Kohima) (82.50 km) (suburban city of Kohima, the Capital city of Nagaland) in Nagaland was sanctioned in 2006-07. The latest anticipated cost of the project is ₹3,000 crore and the work speeded up from September 2018 and the expenditure of ₹729.89 crore has been incurred on the project up to March 2019.
The construction work has been taken up throughout the length of the project. For the complete commission of the project, the work of acquiring balance land in 8 km length has been taken up (ownership disputes). The target for completion for the complete project is 3 years after complete land is handed over to Railways.
Meghalaya: Two projects of BG line have been taken up for Capital connectivity of Meghalaya.
New BG line from Tetelia – Byrnihat (21.50 km) in Meghalaya was sanctioned in 2006-07. The latest anticipated cost of the project is ₹1,532 crore and the work speeded up from 2014-15, 10 km length of the project falling in Assam State from Tetelia to Kamalajari got completed in October 2018 and expenditure of ₹581.32 crore has been incurred upto March, 2019. Some organization is stating that a railway connectivity may lead to influx of outsiders and this has led to local resistance to this project in Meghalaya. Target for complete project is 2 years after complete land is physically handed over to Railways.
New BG line from Byrnihat to Shillong (108.40 km) was sanctioned in 2010-11. The latest anticipated cost of the project is ₹6,000 crore and the expenditure of ₹261.03 crore has been incurred on the project up to March 2019. Some organization is stating that railway connectivity may lead to an influx of outsiders and this has led to local resistance to this project in Meghalaya. Final Location Survey has not been allowed (by local people) to be conducted in around 5 km length and also not allowing to fix centerline pillars in alignment. Hence, the target for completion not fixed, as the same would be decided, once the entire land is physically handed over to Railways.
Sikkim: The project of BG line connectivity from Sivok to Rangpo (44.39 km) was sanctioned in 2008-09. The latest anticipated cost of the project is ₹4,085.69 crore and the expenditure of ₹645.77 crore has been incurred on the project upto March, 2019.
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