Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal reviews Northeast Frontier Railway performance and roadmap for future developments. Minister visits Goddess Kamakhya Temple, promises to name one train after the Goddess shortly.
MALIGAON: The Union Railway Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal today said that Railway Ministry will soon approach Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for clearance of doubling of railway line from New Bongaigaon to Guwahati via Rangiya. He was addressing a review meeting of senior railway officers at N. F. Railway Headquarters at Maligaon this evening. The Minister also said that following the major success of completing Bogibeel Bridge, all efforts should now be pointed towards doubling of railway lines in the region for capacity enhancement. He asked the officials to prepare a Plan of Action within one week. The Minister also spoke to Forest Minister of Assam, Shri Parimal Suklabaidya for ensuring quick permission for soil procurement permission which is presently hampering project progress in Assam. Railway Minister also directed for Vistadome coaches in Lumding – Badarpur hill section and other tourist routes.
The Railway Minister was apprised that Tetelia – Byrnihat new railway line, doubling of Lumding – Hojai section, Agartala – Sabroom new railway line and international line from Jogbani to Viratnagar would be ready very soon.
Before review meeting with N. F. Railway senior officials, the Minister went to Kamakhya Temple seeking blessings of the Goddess. He promised to name one premium passenger train after the Goddess Kamakhya as a mark of obeisance and respect of the entire Indian Railway family.
Earlier in the morning, he addressed the concluding ceremony of All India Janajati Sports Meet near Sonapur at the outskirt of the city. While elaborated on the developmental initiatives of the Railway Ministry for the Northeastern region, he said timely completion of projects has always been topmost priority of the current government and the added thrust for this had resulted in timely completion of Bogibeel project which would be a boon for the people of not only Assam but the entire Northeast.
Shri Goyal said the use of sound of Honey Bee for chasing away elephants from railway track was an example of rural innovation that can bring in real transformation. N. F. Railway’s Rangiya division had successfully installed a mechanism where sound of bee is amplified whenever elephants are spotted near railway track to chase them away, thereby saving wild elephants from being hit by trains. The Minister said such mechanism would be considered for replication elsewhere in the country.
Along with the rest of Indian Railways, the last four years had been very eventful and successful years for N. F. Railway. A few of the achievements of N. F. Railway in Assam in particular and Northeastern region in general are attached separately.
It is also to be mentioned that in budget, 2017-18, four new line projects have been sanctioned in Assam alone which would play a crucial role in easing transportation bottle necks. They are (i) Sivsagar-Jorhat (62KM) (ii) Salona-Khumtai (99km) (iii) Tezpur-Silghat (25km) with a bridge on the Brahmaputra near Silghat and Agthori-Kamakhya (7km) with a bridge on Brahmaputra near Saraighat. Survey is also going on for 38km new line from Harmuti to Majuli, while to ease traffic bottle necks the entire BG route from Bongaigaon to Lumding has been sanctioned for doubling.
- Moreover, Union Cabinet has also approved electrification of entire 2348 km track length of N.F. Railway including all branch lines in Budget 2018-19 at a cost of Rs.4,435 crore. By end of 2020, Guwahati will see its first electric train and the whole of NE India will be electrified by 2022.
- For enhancement of passenger travel experience and faster connectivity within the state Two Shatabdi Express trains (Guwahati – Dibrugarh and Guwahati – Naharlagun) have been introduced in 2017 and Assam also got its first DEMU train in October 2016. All short distance commuter rakes are planned to be converted to DEMU services in a phased manner. As many as six trains running with conventional ICF coaches have been converted to safer and more comfortable LHB rakes. SILGHAT is all set to become the first train terminal of Central Assam. After completion of sick line and pit line facilities, first train from Silghat to Kolkata is to be flagged off on 1st
- 30 stations in Northeast have been provided with Hi-speed free WiFi connections. While Agartala – Anand Vihar Rajdhani Express was provided with free Wi-Fi Entertainment system through which passenger can access 30-hours of media free of cost on their Wi-Fi enabled device. Passenger lifts installed at Guwahati and New Tinsukia. Escalators installed at Guwahati. Moreover, 18 escalators would be provided at various stations of N. F. Railway and works have been started for installation of 40 more lifts at various stations over N. F. Railway.
- For further improvement of the passenger travel experience, Mechanized cleaning of all 359 stations started from 2nd October 2018 and On Board Housekeeping Service provided in 57 trains. Three major station–Rangiya, Guwahati and New Tinsukia – have been taken up for soft upgradation at a total cost of Rs.39 crore. To ease the ticketing experience, Unreserved Tickets, Platform tickets, Season tickets can now be purchased through a mobile app, which mean passengers will no longer have to stand in long queues to get their tickets.
- The Minister also emphasised that SAFETY is the topmost priority of the Railways and the elimination of all unmanned Level crossings has been a major achievement towards better safety in Railways.
- 6 New Line projects, 3 Gauge Conversion Projects and 3 Doubling Projects totaling 1299 km of track has been commissioned in NE since 2014, which is more than 2.5 times the progress of 501 km achieved during 2009-14. With the completion of the long pending Lumding Badarpur gauge conversion project in 2015 and Baraigram-Dulabcherra in 2017, entire MG network of NE has been converted to BG. This is the first stepping stone towards opening up of the region for international connectivity fulfilling the slogan of “Act East” of our PM. Since 2014, Rs 28905 Cr has been allocated for construction projects which are about twice the fund of Rs 12660 Cr allocated during 2009 to 2014. 3 New lines, 4 Doubling projects worth Rs. 16312 crore have been sanctioned since 2014. 43 projects totaling Rs 98000 Crore are under progress, of which 25 are new lines. 11 of these are national projects.
- People of state capitals of NE region, except Guwahati, had not seen any railway track. Ending decades of isolation, PM Shri Narendra Modi flagged off a BG train from Naharlagun ( Itanagagar) to Delhi on 20th February 2015, while an AC train was flagged off from Agartala on 31st July 2016. Meghalaya also got its first railway track, when PM Shri Narendra Modi flagged off a train to Mendipathar on 29th November 2014, while Manipur and Mizoram entered the Railway Map of India, when Shri Modi flagged off passenger trains to Jiribam in Manipur and Bhairabi in Mizoram on 27th May 2016. By 2022, all state capitals of the seven sister states including Sikkim will be in the Railway Map of the country.
- 37 new train services have been introduced since May 2014 compared to 27 during April 2009 to April 2014 in NE region.