ईटानगर Itanagar: Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi will formally open the train link to Arunachal Pradesh and also flag off two trains – one a weekly express train to New Delhi, and the other a daily inter-city to Guwahati on his visit to Itanagar on Friday, to attend the 29th statehood day of Arunachal Pradesh – the first Prime Minister of India to do so till date.
Modi is also likely to formally announce work on a proposed 378-km railway line from Missamari in Assam to Tawang on the China border on Friday.
“The prime minister will flag off the two trains, both express trains that will formally put Arunachal Pradesh in the country’s railway map,” said an official of the Northeast Frontier Railway, which has constructed the 21.75-km railway link from Harmuti (Assam) to Naharlagun at a cost of about Rs 400 crores.
But, even as the first train, a passenger train, was informally inaugurated on April 7, 2014 (amid the Lok Sabha elections), it had to be pulled off after strong protests by several student groups which wanted a foolproof mechanism in place to stop ‘outsiders’ from entering Arunachal Pradesh where entry is restricted for only those who obtain an Inner Line Permit. The situation had reached such a stage that while railway employees were threatened, the state government advised the railways “to stop the train running to Naharlagun in the wake of the security problem” on May 8.
“While two of the trains that will now run to Naharlagun are express trains, the Naharlagun-Dekargaon passenger which will also resume from tomorrow will now have coaches in which only passengers with reservation will be allowed to travel,” said the railway official. Naharlagun, which is about 10 kms from Itanagar, the state capital, is located at an elevation of 300 metres above sea level while the railway length into Arunachal Pradesh is only about 11 kms.
The railways meanwhile is also working on three more railway projects in Arunachal Pradesh, a state which shares 1080 kms international boundary with China. “The most important and challenging one is 378-km line proposed to take off from Misamari in Assam through the rugged mountains up to Tawang via Tenga at an elevation of 3048 metres above sea level,” the official said. The other two are – the 249 km North Lakhimpur-Bame(Along)-Silapathar line and the 227 km Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai line.