Source: Economic Times
GUWAHATI: Excluding portion of Bihar and West Bengal, Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday sought creation of separate railway zone for eight Northeastern states.
Sonowal urged Union minister for state for railways, Rajen Gohain, who is Lok Sabha MP from Assam to create a separate railway zone exclusively for the North East region, including Sikkim.
Sonowal said, “For the overall growth of railway network and economic prosperity of the eight North Eastern States, a separate railway zone in the name of North East Railway instead of North Frontier Railway must be created,” he said, adding that portions of West Bengal and Bihar that falls under the jurisdiction of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR), must be excluded from the new zone.
The day-long meeting convened by the Minister for Railways with Chief Minister, MPs from Assam, and Chief Secretary besides the meeting was also attended by senior officials of the Railway Board including the Member Traffic Md. Jamshed and the Advisor (Coaching) Purushottam Guha.
Gohain said that railways would lease out railway land available in the State for commercial purposes. He said Rs 650 Crore is the revised estimate for double tracking of New Jalpaiguri to Guwahati and Guwahati to Lumding track.
Sonowal urged Gohain to construct a railway bridge connecting Majuli from Dhakuakhana to expose the river island in the world and the seat of Vaishnavism to the whole world. “Majuli will be exposed to the global society if the Railways build a bridge from Dhakuakhana in Dhemaji district”.
Gohain assured to clear all pending railway projects in the region, said the railways is conducting surveys for parallel railway bridges at Saraighat and at Silghat, besides two others at Mariani, Jorhat and Sivasagar.
He made it clear that encroachers would be evicted from the land adjacent to the railway tracks to keep anti-social elements at bay. Gohain met various freight stakeholders of Railways, who use railways for transporting goods and materials, to review the freight and parcel traffic scenario in Northeast Frontier Railway.
The industry representatives elaborated on their requirements including additional infrastructures for transportation of materials and requisite helps needed from the railways. The Minister noted their requirements and assured all possible steps to help the industries.
He said that strengthening of railway freight traffic scenario will help in rapid economic growth of the region.