ITANAGAR: To expand railway connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and provide impetus to the strategic state from the security point of view, the Centre today formally announced the final location survey of three strategic railway lines.
Union Minister of State for Communication and Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju formally announced the commencement of the final survey at Naharlagun Railway Station here.
The Centre, Sinha said, is attaching top priority to the North East and the NDA government has allocated a whopping Rs 5,886 crore for development of railway connectivity in the region.
It is committed to connecting all states with broad gauge railway tracks by 2020, he said.
The three proposed lines – Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang (378 km), North Lakhimpur-Bame-Aalo-Silapathar (247.85 km) and Pasighat-Tezu-Parsuram Kund-Rupai (227 km) will improve connectivity to northern and eastern frontiers of Arunachal Pradesh. "They will also help from the security point of view besides accelerating socio-economic development of the people," Sinha said in his address.
The realistic cost assessment of the three projects would be known only after completion of final location surveys but is expected to be around Rs 70,000 crore.
Though the survey for Pasighat-Tezu-Parshuram Kund-Rupai project can be completed within a short time but the other two will take time due to the hostile terrain, he said adding modern technique would be adopted to overcome the challenge.
The survey by Northeast Frontier Railway is expected to be completed by October 2020.
The minister assured to look into demands for the introduction of goods and freight service train, the introduction of a train between Naharlagun and Bangalore, Rajdhani Express status to the weekly AC express train and land acquisition for expansion of railways at Borum (Naharlagun).
Sinha later told reporters that the Railways ministry had also sanctioned Reconnaissance Engineering-cum-Traffic Survey (RETS) for eight new lines in the state for a total length of about 625 km.
The new lines include, Itakhola to Seijosa (18 km), Doomdooma to Wakro via Simaluguri, Namsai and Chiwkham (96 km) Dangri to Roing (60 km) Naharkatia-Deomali (20 km), Lekhapani-Nampong-New Khamlang-Deben (75 km) and Tinsukia to Pasighat via Kanubari, Deomali, Lekhapani, Jairampur,Kharsang, Miao, Diyun, Tezu, Bhismaknagar, Roing and Dambuk (300 km).
Sinha, who also holds independent charge of communication ministry, said that under the Bharat Net scheme, his ministry has proposed mobile connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country in a phased manner.
Accordingly, in the first phase, one lakh panchayats have been targeted and laying of optical fibres and other requirements have been completed.