Ranchi, Oct. 8: The railways have pointed out that a key link between Lohardaga and Tori, which would reduce travel time to New Delhi by about three hours, is being held up due to security concerns and sought the state government’s help in completing the project by February 2013.
South Eastern Railway GM A.K. Verma, on a visit to the state capital today to inaugurate a facility for engine drivers, said, “Due to security reasons, construction of the Lohardaga-Tori railway line is getting delayed. We want more cooperation from the state government with regard to security.”
Work on the 44km railway track was launched in 2004. But so far, tracks have been laid only upto Barkichampi, 14 km from Lohardaga.
According to officials, railways have acquired the land on which 30km of tracks are to be laid from Barkichampi. But most of the track will have to pass through forests in Maoist-hit terrains of Lohardaga and Latehar before it meets the Daltonganj-Delhi main line at Tori.
It was on this stretch that work was held up due to fear factor. The deadline for completing the Rs 1,000 crore project is February 2013.
“One company of Jharkhand Armed Police has been deployed to guard the area while work is going on at Boda,” said Lohardaga SP J.K. Singh. Talks were on between the railways and the state government to beef up security measures on the Barkichampi-Tori line.
The distance between Ranchi and Delhi on the Muri-Barkakana-Tori route is about 1,300km. Once the Lohardaga-Tori line is through, travel time to Delhi would be cut down by three hours.
After Verma inaugurated the 24-bed “running room” at Hatia, a rest room equipped with a meditation hall, dining and reading rooms and a kitchen for tired engine drivers, he went on to Ranchi for inspection of tracks.
In Ranchi, members of various passenger associations met him and handed over memorandums on various pending demands.
Ashok Nagpal, vice-president of Chotanagpur Passenger Association, spoke on the Namkum-Kandra railway link that would cut down travel time between the state capital and the industrial town near Jamshedpur considerably.
“We requested him to begin work on the construction of the proposed Namkum-Kandra railway line. Chief Minister Arjun Munda had recently said that the state government had already paid Rs 400 crore, its share of funds for the project,” he said.