Sikkim needs rail connectivity: MP

The railways should create a mountain unit within the ministry to plan connectivity in the Himalayan region, lone Sikkim Democratic Front member in the Lok Sabha, P D Rai, said Wednesday while noting that his state, which borders China, remains cut off from the national network till date.

“Till date there is no rail link to Sikkim. There is no strategic thinking. Why can’t we have railway when China has built rail connectivity till Lhasa in Tibet,” Rai told IANS.

“I will write to Railway Minister P K Bansal to create a mountain railway division. Railway can be a clean form of transport in the Himalayan region,” he said.

Rai said the need for connecting Sikkim with rail network was being felt more as it has become the fastest growing state, especially in tourism.

“We get around 7 lakh (700,000) tourists per year,” said Rai.

According to Rai, the foundation stone of the 52 km Sevok-Rangpo rail link in the northeastern state was laid in 2009 but there has been no progress since then.

“The rail link will help as the highway connecting Sikkim (with North Bengal) has become overloaded,” he said.