On the railway’s efforts to increase border connectivity, Sabyasachi De, CPRO of Northeast Frontier Railway, told the mediapersons, “Our focus is mainly the Indo-China border. We are also focusing on Myanmar; the Imphal-Moreh line has been given preliminary approval.”
“The Sairang-Hbichhuah railway line, which is South of Mizoram and connects the Kaladan Multimodal Project, has also been given approval. The Kokrajhar-Gelephu railway line connecting Bhutan. In a very short period of time, the Agartala-Akhaura railway project will also be commissioned. North East will have its first international cross-border railway connectivity very soon.
Lots of cross-border projects are also there – the Mahisasan zero point in Assam. Our focus is mainly to connect all the border areas and also to increase the trade through these international neighbours which we have. Sairang-Hbichhuah railway project that will give us a gateway to the Sittwe Port in Myanmar,” Sabyasachi De said.
The Mahisasan railway station which is located along with the adjoining Kushiyara River and the Mahisashan-Shahbajpur route has been non-operational since 1966, can play an important role in the development of the North-Eastern region and also in strengthening India’s bilateral trade and transit connectivity with Bangladesh.
Earlier on May 9, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Myanmar’s Deputy Prime Minister Admiral Tin Aung San had jointly inaugurated the Sittwe Port in Myanmar and received the first Indian cargo ship.
Taking note of this, he said, that the target is to bring in goods to North East with much ease and logistics. “This will obviously lower the cost of products in this part of the country and the railway will play an important role,” he said.
He further said that the most important projects that are going on in the North East are state capital connectivity projects – we are trying to connect Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland.
“We have connected all remaining states of the North East. Apart from that, we have…some new line sections like Murkongselek -Pasighat. That is a project that does not connect a state capital but yes it is an extension of the railway line, which used to end at Assam’s Murkongselek, but now it will go to Pasighat in Arunachal,” the NF Railway CPRO said.
He said that in this financial year, the Railway Ministry has sanctioned projects worth Rs 1.20 lakh crore for border area connectivity, which means that we are planning to make railway lines in the border areas of North East, mainly in Arunachal Pradesh.
“Apart from that, we have station development projects– Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of 508 stations across the country out of which 32 stations were in Assam and 56 stations across the Northeastern region with an investment of more than Rs 1200 crore.
Apart from that, we have some major station redevelopment projects, like in New Jalpaiguri, a gateway to North East. That station is being developed with an investment of around Rs 300-350 crore. Also, the Dimapur railway station, one of the largest in NE. It will be developed with an investment of Rs 230 crore. Similarly, we have a plan to make Guwahati railway station a world-class railway station,” the NF Railway CPRO said.
He also said that maintenance infrastructure works are also going on with an investment tune of around Rs 230-240 crore in New Guwahati itself for the creation of a Mega Coaching Complex. Stressing that electrification works in stations are near completion, the senior railway officer said that within this financial year, the whole North East will get electrified.
“Electrification works are almost completed, most of the sections have been electrified – Meghalaya (Mendipathar) has been electrified…Slowly, most probably, within this financial year, the whole North East will get electrified,” he said.
“We have an investment of more than Rs 1 lakh crore currently in this financial year for completion of projects and this is a huge value and huge amount and focus has been given to railway development in North East,” Sabyasachi De said.
He further said that many projects are in the affiliate stages and final location survey stages. “In the next 10 years, many projects will be seen taking perform in shape and you will able to visualize actually what is happening. Right now, detailed reports are being prepared to see the viability of the project, environmental viability, economic viability of the project,” the NF Railway CPRO said.
Talking about the protection of wildlife in the region he said that, the Northeast Frontier Railway has led the nation in the protection of wildlife by introducing an Intrusion Detection System. “There are many elephant corridors and the Northeast Frontier Railway has covered the ideas in the Lumding-Hawaipur section in Assam and the Chalsa-Hasimara section in West Bengal.
We have a sanction of Rs 77 crore covering all the elephant corridors in the North Eastern region. The Northeast Frontier Railway has the highest number of elephant corridors in the country. Many innovative and challenging works are being done in the North Eastern region,” Sabyasachi De added.