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Rs 5,586 cr to improve rail connectivity in NE: Gohain

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 4: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Railways Rajen Gohain has disclosed that Rs 5,586 crore would be spent to improve rail connectivity in Northeastern States.

Addressing a press conference held here on Saturday, Gohain stated that a fund of Rs 888 crore has been sanctioned for construction of a second rail bridge over the Brahmaputra at Saraighat. Apart from this, a railway workshop would be set up in New Bongaigaon.

The minister said that a rail route of 180 km would be constructed connecting Chaparmukh and Jowai in Meghalaya, while construction of rail track connecting Tetelia with Byrnihat and thereafter Byrnihat with Shillong will be completed in 2018-19 and 2020 respectively.

“New rail routes connecting Itakhola-Sijusa, Dangori-Roing, harkatia-Deomali, Tinsukia-Pasighat and Rangia-Dekargaon will be constructed,” he said, adding, “Broad gauge railway lines will be constructed connecting Sivasagar-Jorhat and Sal-Khumtai. Besides this, Tezpur and Silghat in gaon will be connected by rail with an estimated cost of Rs 2,025 crore.”

Gohain further stated that Rs 1,435 crore would be spent on electrification of rail services in the NE region.

It may be mentioned that Fince Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday last proposed to allocate Rs 1,31,000 crore as capital and development expenditure for Indian Railways during fiscal 2017-18. This includes Rs 55,000 crore provided by the government.

Gohain disclosed that the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge – Bogibeel Bridge – would be commissioned on December 25 this year. “On April 21, 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had iugurated construction work of the 4.94-km-long bridge. In fact, the foundation stone of the mega project was laid by his predecessor HD Deve Gowda way back on January 22, 1997 after the project was approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs. The fil cost of the project is likely to touch Rs 5,000 crore. The origil budget of the project was Rs 1,767 crore,” added Gohain.

The Central government has also sanctioned doubling of Saraighat bridge over Brahmaputra in Guwahati with an estimated cost of Rs 888 crore, four-line elevated corridor between Kamakhya-New Guwahati, construction of a railway bridge near Kaliabhomora bridge over Brahmaputra, and some track conversion projects, he said, adding that Kamakhya rail station would be upgraded to a world class railway station.   

“For Assam and other Northeastern States, the allocation for projects is Rs 5,586 crore, compared to Rs 5,340 crore allotted in 2016-17,” said Gohain, adding, “Rs 649 crore has been allocated to NF Railway from a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore created for Indian Railways to fince all safety-related works over a period of five years.”       

“Over-bridges will be built at 48 unmanned railway crossings across the State and for this purpose, fund has been allotted, but the State government will have to bear half of the total spending needed for this project. Over-bridges will also be built at other railway crossings in the State,” the Railway MoS said.