GUWAHATI: In accordance with the Indian Railway's Vision Document - 2020, the Government has planned to connect all States of the north-eastern States (except Sikkim) by 2020 with railway connectivity. In keeping with this commitment, the Indian Railways has provided rail connectivity to these States. A new line from Sivok in West Bengal up to Rangpo in Sikkim is also expected to be connected by December 2022.
Emphasis has been given by Central Government during the last five years towards quick execution of infrastructure and safety projects. Funding to the infrastructure projects has also increased considerably.
In order to provide faster connectivity in the NE States, the Indian Railways has doubled tunnelling output during 2014-19 which is 54.324 KM in comparison to the period of 2009-14 which was only 31.7 Km.
The cumulative expenditure in New Line/ Gauge Conversion/ Doubling infrastructure projects during 2014-18 was Rs 25,908 crore as against Rs 10,612 crore during 2009-13 which is around 144% more than during 2009-13. The average allotment per year for the north-eastern States was Rs 2,122.40 crore per year from 2009-14. However, it increased 144% to Rs 5,181.60 crore per year for this region during 2014-19, stated a release.
While the capitals of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura are already connected by the Broad Gauge (BG) rail network, Imphal will be connected by rail network by March 2022, Aizawl and Kohima will be connected by March 2023.
Two BG line projects have been taken up for Shillong. In the new BG line project from Tetelia (in Assam) to Byrnihat (in Meghalaya) — about 10 km length of the total 21.50 km falling in Assam portion from Tetelia to Kamalajari got completed in October, 2018. The target date for completion of the project is March 2022. Work for the new BG line from Byrnihat to Shillong (108.40 km) for connecting Shillong was sanctioned in 2010-11. The progress of these projects is affected due to protests from different organisations in Meghalaya, the release added.