Tura, Jan. 18: The first rail link for Meghalaya, from Dudhnoi in Assam to Mendipathar and Resubelpara in North Garo Hills, was inspected by Planning Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi, along with officials of NF Railways and principal secretary general (administration) P.W. Ingty, at Mendipathar railway station today.
The 19.75-km stretch, which has been constructed at a cost of Rs 175.43 crore, will be operational for freight traffic and passenger trains from April.
There will be two stops along the route — at Mendipathar and Resubelpara.
The foundation for the project was laid in September 2012 by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma.
A three-bogie train arrived at Mendipathar today as part of a trial run.
Chief minister Mukul Sangma had said during the foundation laying ceremony that the government is also keen to extend the railway track between Dudhnoi and Mendipathar to Tura and Dobu in Meghalaya.
“It is a historic moment for Meghalaya. The construction will be complete by March and by April, Garo hills will be on the rail map,” said Chaturvedi.
“The freight traffic will boost the socio-economic condition of the people. Coal and other natural resources can be transported easily and at a cheaper price,” he added.
The Planning Commission member expressed happiness that despite many constraints, including land acquisition, the project is finally nearing completion.
Eighty per cent of the work has been completed so far.
Chaturvedi had yesterday inspected the new broad-gauge line from Harmuti in Assam to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh.
He said the rail line would be completed by March 20 and inaugurated along with the Mendipathar railway station.
He also announced that NF Railways has embarked on an ambitious national project to connect all state capitals of the Northeast.
A rail link to Imphal and an upgrade of the existing line to Agartala are also being planned.
On the rail link to Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya, Chaturvedi said, “Efforts are under way to construct the line. We hope that this will materialise as well.”