Government accords high priority to rail connectivity in the Northeast: Dr Jitendra Singh



Government accords high priority to rail connectivity in the Northeast: Dr Jitendra Singh


Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has said that the Union Government has hiked the Northeast Railway Budget by as much as 151 percent within the last two years of its term.

Stating this while addressing the “Global Rail Convention” organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce here yesterday, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the total Budget outlay fixed by the present government for 2016-17 is Rs. 5,340 Cr. This, he said, is manifold higher than the average Budget outlay during the five years of 2009-10 to 2013-14 of the earlier UPA government when it stood at just Rs. 2,121.6 Cr in comparison to the average Budget outlay during 2014 to 2016 which is Rs. 5,316.3 Cr.

Dr Jitendra Singh said the high priority given to connectivity in the Northeast including the rail network is borne out by the fact that within six months of the taking over of the present government, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, during one of his visits to the Northeast, inaugurated the first ever Rail link to Meghalaya and around the same time, Arunachal Pradesh was also brought on the Rail map of India. Similarly, he said, Akhaura-Agartala-Bangladesh is going to be a game changer and the Ministry of Railways has offered to contribute Rs. 580 Cr for construction of railway track on the Indian side while for across the border, funds will be borne by Ministry of External Affairs.

Referring to fast-track movement of rail expansion in Northeast, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the long-time pending work on the broad-gauge track was expedited in the last two years and during the year 2015-16, over 500 kilometers of broad-gauge railway track was laid in the region. This includes the broad-gauge track to Agartala which became functional on February 20, 2016 and also Kathakat-Bhairabi in Mizoram.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that the overall connectivity, including rail and road network, to the Northeast is a major priority of the present government, because this will also pave the way for growth in the areas of tourism, revenue and trade. In addition, he said, the innovative work on laying down of waterways along the Brahmaputra up to the Bay of Bengal has also been undertaken which will not only prove to be an alternative means of transport but also be much more cost effective. 

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