FROM OUR Special Correspondent
SILCHAR,March 16: “To connect north-east region with railway network is the priority of NF Railway and with that objective works on construction and completion of the BG tracks are moving on war-footing”, pointed out R K Singh, General Mager (Construction), while briefing the media-persons in the railway guest house last night about the plan to start passenger train from March 31 next between Silchar – Lumding track. After connecting Itagar, capital of Aruchal Pradesh, with BG on last February 20.
The opening of train services on Silchar – Lumding BG will give a new dimension to the communication links. He described Silchar as important station since it is a gateway to Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Agartala, the capital of Tripura, will be connected by March 2016. Trains on Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal will start rolling by March 2017. Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, will be on BG map by March 2018 while Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, will get the connectivity by March 2019. Rolling stock will get moving by March 2020 to Rangpo, close to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
In other words, as R K Singh said all the state capitals of north-east will find place in the railway map. He however was silent on the extension of railhead from Dimapur to Kohima, the capital of galand. The General Mager (Construction) gave details about the challenging task of completing Silchar – Lumding BG track with the most critical hilly terrain. According to him, the terrain of North Cachar Hills and Cachar is geologically unstable and the laying down of the track has been subjected to constant study and monitoring by experts from the research wing of the Railways and consultants from different competent bodies. Still, he did not rule out the possibility of problem cropping up, particularly during monsoon.
R K Singh said with all the expertise and technicalities, the BG track was examined metre by metre to elimite the possibility of any deficiency. Running of ballast train and wind trial inspection train shows their confidence to begin train services from the stipulated date between Silchar – Lumding. There was not much problem of insurgency and whenever the extremist groups raised their ugly heads, it was tackled by the security forces. But, during the construction period of this track, 70 persons lost their lives. Conveying his feelings for them, he said their sacrifices were for greater public cause.
R K Singh gave details of the Jiribam-Tupul track which was yet another challenging task for the Railways. Of the 34 tunnels, one is 11 km long and the tallest railway pillars in the world will support Noney bridge near Imphal. Reverting back to Silchar – Lumding BG, the General Mager pointed out there are 5 or 6 locations along the route which are problematic and will need constant monitoring. In fact, for the Indian Railways, this track has been most critically challenging.
In contrast to the steepest gradient of 1:37 on British made MG, this has been increased to 1:60. It means the movement of trains will be easier and without any technical problem for the heavy and large bodied BG coaches. The Commissioner of Railway Safety, R K Singh revealed, would be examining the track from March 19 for a week before fil nod to run of trains. In any case, the goods train would be moving through the new track. He has high words of praise for Gorkha Rifles, State Territorial Army and other paramilitary forces for providing protection to the railway staff during the construction works.
R K Singh was accompanied by high ranking officials who included Vedprakash Judeja, executive director, Indian Railways, Ajit Pandit, chief administrative officer, R K Jhinga, chief engineer -1, Ashok Kumar, chief engineer - technical, B L Solanki, chief engineer, Dilip Bora, chief public relations officer, and Ravindra Ram.