No target for railway projects in NE

NEW DELHI, December 12: Uncertainty looms large over the completion of all railway projects in the northeastern States by 2017 as the Centre on Thursday informed the Parliament that target for completion of all projects can’t be fixed due to fund constraint.

This assumes significance as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in the recent past taken a personal initiative and instructed the Railways to complete the ongoing projects in the northeastern States on time.

Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Choudhury informed the Lok Sabha that as on March this year, work of 21 railway projects in the northeastern region, consisting of 14 new lines, 4 gauge conversion projects, 2 doubling projects and 1 railway electrification project, with an estimated cost of Rs 26303 crore, were taken up. “A fund of Rs 2244.55 crore was allocated for these projects in 2013–14 but these projects are now progressing based on the availability of resources,” Choudhury said.

He said that the Dimapur–Tizit new line and the New Bongaigaon–Kamakhya via Rangiya doubling projects were sanctioned in the railway budget 2013–14 but their execution is still to be taken up.

“Execution of these projects can be done after obtaining the approval of Planning Commission and approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,” Choudhury said. On several occasions earlier, the Railway Ministry had said that all the capitals in the northeastern States would be connected by 2017.