The railway network would make Northeast India a “destination” instead of being a transit point, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said in Mizoram.
“The railway network would make resource rich Northeast India a “destination” instead of being a transit spot,” Prabhu said late Friday while laying the foundation stone of the railway station building at Sairang, 20 km north of Mizoram capital Aizawl.
Underlining the role of railways in economic development of the Northeastern region, he said: “Railway would not only be the engine of growth but would also be the catalyst of social transformation.”
“Railway network would also bring people of the region more closer and help to overcome various problems in tapping the resources and to supply goods,” he added.
Citing examples of rich natural resources found in Mizoram, the minister called for better utilisation of the natural resources like the bamboo.
Prabhu announced that railways would plan to use more bamboo products made in the region in the Indian railway system to give a boost to the potential industry.
He said that Indian railways would construct all future stations in the country keeping the local ethos as a major part of the design.
Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, who was also present on the occasion, said that the new broad gauge line from Bairabi to Sairang was part of the Indian railway’s vision to connect all the capitals of northeastern states through broad gauge line by 2020.
The 50.38 km new line, being laid by the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR), originates from Bairabi (under Kolsib district in northern Mizoram) and terminates at Sairang station, which is 20 km from Aizawl.
“Due to the very steep gradient of the mountainous terrain between Sairang and Aizawl, it was not feasible to take the line up to Mizoram capital city,” Gohain said, adding that efforts are being made to complete the project in the stipulated time.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said that the extension of broad gauge railway line up to Sairang would be a milestone in the progress of Mizoram.
Speaking at the function, Mizoram Governor Lt Gen (retd.) Nirbhay Sharma emphasised on building railway connectivity with neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar in the near future as it would be vital for the development of Mizoram.
The governor also requested the state government and railway authorities to consider construction of a high quality hospital and a school at Sairang for the benefit of the people.
The 50.38 km Bairabi-Sairang new broad gauge line alignment passes through complicated mountainous terrain covered with dense forest throughout its length.
At least 23 tunnels — the longest being 1,766 metre — and 38 major bridges and six tall bridges (the tallest being 117 metre high) would be constructed in the railway line, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019-20.
Mizoram Transport Minister John Rotluangliana, state’s Lok Sabha member C. L. Ruala, NFR’s General Manager Chahatey Ram, General Manager (Construction) H. K. Jaggi among others were also present at the function.