Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced that work to link up capitals of all the Northeastern States with the country’s rail network would be expedited. He made this announcement while flagging off the first Silchar-Guwahati passenger train on the newly-laid Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar broad gauge (BG) railway line via video conferencing from Rail Bhawan in New Delhi on 21st November.
Prabhu said with the commissioning of the 510-km Rangiya-Rangapara-North Lakhimpur-Murkongselek BG conversion project, not only Itanagar, but the entire north bank of the Brahmaputra has been linked by the BG rail network. He said work on the Mega Block for BG conversion of the Badarpur-Kumarghat-Agartala section, taken up since 1st October this year, too was going on smoothly.
‘And hopefully Agartala too should be on broad gauge map of India by March 2016,’ the Minister added. Stating that the gauge conversion work on the Kathakal-Bhairabi (Mizoram) and Arunachal (station near Silchar)-Jiribam (Manipur) sections will be completed soon; Prabhu added these two States too would come on BG map of the country.
He also claimed that the rate of commissioning of BG track in the Northeast has gone up after Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister. ‘The railways have been commissioning about 133 km broad gauge track every year in the region in the last 4-5 years. But in 2014-15, a record was made when about 450 km of lines were commissioned. This year again, we are all set to achieve a new record of commissioning of about 550 km of broad gauge lines in the region,’ he said. He added that the Indian Railways was also working to provide better connectivity with Bangladesh.