Sunday, September 19, 2021

Rail connectivity to improve the lives in Northeast region

Great emphasis has been given by the Central Government during the past few years towards the quick execution of infrastructure and safety projects in the North-Eastern region.

The North-East Frontier Railways (NFR), which has already connected the capitals of Assam, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh, by Broad Gauge (BG) rail network is further laying tracks to connect the capital cities of three more north-eastern states Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland by March 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 flagged off the first passenger train to Meghalaya from Assam.

Ongoing Projects

20 projects with a total cost of Rs.74,485 crore and a total length of 2,011 km in the North Eastern Region are under various stages of planning, approval, and execution, with 321 km have been commissioned and an expenditure of Rs. 26,874 crore incurred up to March 2021.

14 New Line Projects with a total length of 1,181 km at a cost of Rs 56,553 crore have been completed up to March 2021.

6 Doubling Projects with a total length of 830 km at a cost of Rs 17,932 crore, of which 68 km has been commissioned and Rs 2,880 crore has been spent up to March 2021.

From 2014-21, 270 km of New Line, 972 km of Gauge Conversion, and 114 km of Doubling in the North Eastern Region were commissioned at an average rate of 193.71 km per year, which is 94 percent higher than the average commissioning rate of 66.6 km per year during 2009-14.

Funds granted

The overall budget outlay for infrastructure and safety works in the North Eastern Region for the financial year 2021-22 is Rs 6,913 crore, which is 226 percent greater than the average annual budget outlay from 2009-14 (Rs 2,122 crore/year).

The average annual budget allocation for these projects was increased to Rs 5,531 crore per year in 2014-19 from Rs 2,122 crore per year in 2009-14, a 161 percent increase over the average annual budget outlay, and a budget outlay of Rs 4,669 crore was provided for the financial year 2020-21, a 120 percent increase over the average annual budget outlay of 2009-14.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communications, and Electronics and Information Technology, provided this information in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Benefit of the rail connectivity

Better rail connectivity will benefit the local population and also the economy of the entire Northeast region. State traders will be able to bring daily necessities as well as construction supplies at a significantly lower cost, making them more cost-effective and environmentally beneficial. Similarly, farmers will be able to send their products to a larger market in each state at a lower cost and in a timely manner.

About Bogibeel Bridge (India’s longest railroad bridge)

Bogibeel Bridge on the Brahmaputra River was finally constructed in 2018, reducing the train travel distance between Dibrugarh and Naharlagun (Itanagar) by 705 kilometers (via Guwahati). The railway track reduced the travel distance by 705 km.

Railway has already begun work on additional BG lines with funds from the Government of India to connect the remaining capitals of North Eastern states, namely Meghalaya (Shillong), Manipur (Imphal), Nagaland (Kohima), Mizoram (Aizawl), and Sikkim (Gangtok).

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