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Northeast India Set to Gain International Cross-Border Railway Connectivity

Editor Editor
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Northeast India Set to Gain International Cross-Border Railway Connectivity
Northeast India's Historic Leap: First International Cross-Border Railway Connection on the Horizon
Guwahati, August 29, 2023: The commitment of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government to enhance connectivity in the country's border areas is set to become a reality in Northeast India. Sabyasachi De, the Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of Northeast Frontier Railway, recently announced that the region will soon witness its first international cross-border railway connection.

Unprecedented Budget Allocation

De revealed that an unprecedented budget allocation of Rs. 1.20 lakh crore has been earmarked for the comprehensive development of railway infrastructure in the hilly and border areas of Northeastern India.

Focus on Border Connectivity

The primary focus of these ambitious railway projects is connectivity along the Indo-China border. Myanmar is also on the radar, with preliminary approval granted for the Imphal-Moreh railway line.

Expanding Connectivity Horizons

De highlighted some key initiatives, stating, "The Sairang-Hbichhuah railway line in South Mizoram, connecting the Kaladan Multimodal Project, has received approval. Similarly, the Kokrajhar-Gelephu railway line, connecting Bhutan, has also been greenlit. Furthermore, the Agartala-Akhaura railway project is nearing commissioning, promising to provide the North East with its first international cross-border railway link."

Boosting Cross-Border Trade

These projects signify a significant endeavor to connect border regions and facilitate trade with neighboring countries. De elaborated, "Our primary objective is to establish connectivity in all border areas and boost trade with our international neighbors. The Sairang-Hbichhuah railway project, for instance, will provide access to the Sittwe Port in Myanmar."

A Key to Regional Development

The revival of the Mahisasan railway station, which has been non-operational since 1966, holds great potential. Located along the Kushiyara River and the Mahisashan-Shahbajpur route, this station could play a pivotal role in the development of Northeastern India and strengthen India's trade and transit links with Bangladesh.

Expanding State Capital Links

Highlighting the significance of these developments, De stated, "Our goal is to facilitate the smoother movement of goods into the North East, which will ultimately reduce product costs in the region. Railways will play a pivotal role in achieving this."

Redeveloping Key Stations

De also shed light on state capital connectivity projects in progress, with an emphasis on linking Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. In addition, several new line sections are being developed to extend the railway network.

Investment in Railway Modernization

This fiscal year, the Railway Ministry has allocated a staggering Rs. 1.20 lakh crore for border area connectivity, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh.

Transforming Stations Nationwide

De noted other noteworthy projects, saying, "We have station development projects under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme, including 32 stations in Assam and 56 stations across the Northeastern region. Additionally, major station redevelopment projects are underway in New Jalpaiguri, Dimapur, and Guwahati, with plans to transform Guwahati railway station into a world-class facility."

Investing in Infrastructure

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.

Electrification Progress

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.

Massive Investment for Development

“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.

Future Railway Visions

He further said that many projects are in the affiliate stages and final location survey stages

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

“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.

Preserving Wildlife

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.

Protecting Elephant Corridors

“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.