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Mega rail projects for NE

The Humsafar Express at Agartala railway station on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Agartala: The railways will develop a network of another 5,158km of tracks in the Northeast, minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain said here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the second service of Humsafar Express, Gohain said, "Altogether 43 railway projects are under way in the region at a cost of Rs 90,000 crore. These will add 5,158km railway line in the Northeast." He said the projects would be completed soon.

Gohain flagged off the second service jointly with Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

Humsafar Express, which was flagged off on January 5 this year, used to ply between Agartala and Bangalore Cantonment once a week. With the second service, it will now depart from Agartala every Tuesday and Saturday and from Bangalore every Tuesday and Friday.

On development of railway service in the region, Gohain said, "Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur are connected with railway service. Work is going on at a fast pace in Mizoram and Nagaland."

He said work is in progress in Meghalaya since the new government came into office, referring to the National People's Party-led coalition government which assumed office in March this year and of which the BJP is a part.

The Centre has also sanctioned a project for electrification of all lines, the minister said. He claimed that all this development was done in the last four years after the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre.

Gohain said once the 112km Agartala-Sabroom broad-gauge line in South Tripura district, being implemented at a cost of Rs 3,451 crore, is commissioned, Chittagong Port in Bangladesh would be only 90km away from the nearest station.

He also spoke about the Rs 968-crore Agartala-Akhaura rail link which would connect India and Bangladesh via Gangasagar railway station near the international border in West Tripura district. He said it would connect Chittagong Port in Bangladesh.

Deb said Tripura would soon become a gateway to the Northeast. He said a bridge was under construction over the Feni which would connect Bangladesh. "Once we have direct connectivity with Chittagong Port, goods can be brought at much cheaper rates compared to the 2,500km-long route from Haldia port," he said.

He said his government would work to develop Tripura using its natural resources such as tea, jackfruit and pineapple. He sought Gohain's intervention to double frequency of Rajdhani Express and Tripurasundari Express.

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