All NE capitals on railway in five years: Gowda
GUWAHATI, SEPTEMBER 17
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]apitals of all the North-eastern states will be connected with railway services within the next five years, Union Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda announced on Wednesday. Currently only Guwahati, Itanagar (Naharlagun) and Agartala – the latter with a metre guage link – are on the railway map.
Interacting with the media after reviewing progress of as many as 34 ongoing railway projects, including 11 national projects, of Northeast Frontier Railway, Gowda also said that he would visit the Northeastern region once in, at present, six months to take stock of these projects.The railway minister said the total anticipated cost of these 34 projects stood at Rs 53,522 crore, of which Rs 19,905 crore has been already spent as on March 31, 2014. These projects, he pointed out, included laying 1,757 km length of new railway lines, 2,448 km length of gauge conversion and 312 km length of track doubling. As on April 1, work of 1,545 km of new railway lines, 801 km of gauge conversion and 282 km of track doubling was pending, he informed.
Gowda also said that he had already announced a budgetary grant of Rs 5,742 crore for the Northeast projects for the current financial year, which was 54 per cent more than the previous year’s allocation. This would help expedite the ongoing projects, he added.
Expressing satisfaction with the current pace of work on these projects, Gowda said that chief ministers of the Northeastern states have been extending full cooperation in execution of these projects, apart from providing required security for the projects as well as for train services. His topmost priority was to meet the target dates of completion.
On the 4.95-km Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge river Brahmaputra near Dibrugarh, Gowda said it would be completed by June, 2017. The project was sanctioned in 1996-97 and declared a national project in 2005-06.