Centre takes massive initiative to expand railway network in Northeast

By Our Correspondent

Agartala July 12,2019 : The reelected NDA government in Centre has taken a major initiative to ensure massive expansion of railway network in the northeastern region . This was made clear in detail by the union minister for railway and commerce Pijush Goel in reply to an 'unstarred question' (meant only for written reply in the house) put by Tripura (West) MP Pratima Bhowmik. Goel said that as per data available on April 1 2019, altogether 20 new railway projects including 14 new lines and 6 doubling projects falling fully or partially in Assam and other northeastern states are in various stages of planning/approval / execution. The total length of the projects is 1783 KMs and the total cost will come to Rs 68,401 crores.

Goel's reply to MP Pratima Bhowmik's query said that total expenditure on the projects up to March 2019 was Rs 17,685 crores and length commissioned was 353 KMs. In the central government's  interim budget placed on February 1 2019 an outlay of Rs 3553 crores for all these projects. Goel also gave details of the projects completed by the railway in northeast over the past five years .
Making an important announcement on electrification of railways lines, Pijush Goel said that at present no rail route in seven northeastern states is electrified but the railway authority have decided to complete electrification work on all broad gauge roads in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh , Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam , Tripura and Mizoram. He however clarified that the railway authority always keeps constant monitoring work on project implementation with an eye to timely completion of work as well as to prevent cost escalation . 

But Goel conceded that natural reasons like rain , storm, flood , earthquakes , landslips etc often lead to delay in work but the railway authority is conscious of this bottleneck and engineers and workers at the ground level make best efforts to ensure timely completion of work within the initially estimated cost. Pratima Bhowmik thanked the railway minister for his detailed replies to her queries.

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