Ranchi (RNC): Union minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha today inaugurated the 65km Dumka-Rampurhat rail line, a much-awaited project that holds out the promise of opening up new opportunities for people of the Santhal Pargana region.
The minister flagged off a passenger train from Dumka station under the Asansol division of the Eastern Railway at 11.30am for Rampurhat in Bengal’s Birbhum district, throwing open the new route for tourists visiting Baidyanath Dham (Deoghar), Basukinath Dham (Dumka), Maluti temples (Dumka) and Massanjore Dam (Dumka).
Speaking at the inauguration of the route envisaged during the tenure of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the minister promised to complete most of the ongoing railway projects in the state in the current fiscal.
“Work on new lines covering around 537km is going on in full swing in the state and is likely to be completed within this financial year,” he added.
Sinha said the railway ministry would pay special attention to the Santhal Pargana area and ensure speedy completion of the Dumka-Mandarhill-Bhagalpur line – another ambitious project proposed by the previous NDA government at the Centre.
The minister, however, did not announce any new train for the second capital of Jharkhand. But a senior official posted at the Asansol DRM’s office said the existing Rampurhat-Tingarhia passenger train had been extended to Dumka while the Jasidih-Shikaripara passenger would be withdrawn from tomorrow.
A pair of passenger trains has been plying between Dumka and Shikaripara and Tingarhia and Rampurhat for sometime now. Recently, the 15km stretch between Tingarhia-Shikaripara was completed, paving the way for a direct train link between Dumka and Rampurhat.
JMM chief Shibu Soren, who was also present at the function, welcomed the move and stressed on the need for direct trains from Santhal Pargana to all major cities of the country.
Godda MP Nishikant Dubey said the new rail route would help curb Naxalism in the area.
“The Left-wing extremism flourished due to lack of development in the area. The new route will automatically generate both direct and indirect employment opportunities for local people. Further, it will also boost the tourism sector,” he added.