CPI-M allege Railways ignoring Northeast region in Railway Expansion

Agartala:  The CPI-M Monday accused the UPA government of ignoring the north-eastern region while developing the railway infrastructure.

“Expansion of railway lines and conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge in southern Assam, Tripura and Manipur are delayed by many years against their targeted dates of completion,” CPI-M MP Khagen Das said.

“Due to huge shortage of funds and utter negligence of UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government towards north-eastern states, the railway projects have remained half-done,” he said.

He said Northeast Frontier Railway officials recently told a team of MPs in Imphal and Aizawl that sanctioning meager amount of funds was the chief reason for the slow expansion of railway network in the region.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist leader said the delayed projects include new railway lines in the northeast, gauge conversion work between Lumding (200 km north of Guwahati) and Agartala, and the Agartala-Sabroom rail extension.

Then prime minister H.D.Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone for conversion of the Lumding-Agartala metre gauge track to broad gauge in January 1996.

The cost of the project has escalated to Rs.2,800 crore from Rs.648 crore in 1996 due to the inordinate delays, Das said.

He said that at this rate, the line would not be completed even by 2017, against the original targeted year of 2010.

Agartala is one of the newest stations on the Indian railway network. It came up in October 2008.