Announcing a slew of steps for rapid and wide scale development of rail connectivity in the northeastern region, the Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today announced a Rs. 5000 crore joint venture with State Government to construct four elevated railway tracks between Kamakhya and New Guwahati to eliminate 12 level crossing gates in Guwahati city.
The Minister made the announcement while laying the foundation stone for the project of doubling of railway line from New Bongaigaon to Kamakhya via Goalpara Town and the doubling of railway line from Digaru to Hojai at a glittering function held at the RPF Parade Ground at Maligaon today. He also laid the foundation stone for much-demanded Railway Electrification project for Raninagar Jalpaiguri – Guwahati via Rangiya railway line and flagged off the first passenger train services on the 10 kilometre Karimganj – Maishashan newly converted broad gauge section in Barak valley of Assam.
Shri Prabhu said, construction of the elevated tracks connecting Kamakhya and New Guwahati would decongest city roads, free up railway land and enable railways to develop Guwahati station as a commercial hub. He also said that the new projects would keep provisions for connectivity with proposed metro.
The function was attended by Honourable Governor of Assam, Shri Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain, General Manager of N. F. Railway Shri Chahatey Ram, General Manager of N. F. Railway (Construction) Shri H. K. Jaggi, Chief Managing Director of Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL) Shri S. C. Agnihotri, other senior railway and RVNL officials, host of invited guests and public.
Speaking in the function the Governor of Assam, Shri Banwarilala Purohit congratulated N. F. Railway team and Railway Minister for being able to deliver many projects in northeast on time and expressed hope that under the leadership of Shri Prabhu, Shri Rajen Gohain and Shri Sarbananda Sonowal the region would see many more development in the future.
While thanking the Railway Minister for his initiatives in development of rail network in the northeast, the Chief Minister, Shri Sarbanada Sonowal emphasized on speedy completion of all railway projects in the state. He also requested the Railway Minister to take up construction of railway line so that every district headquarters of the state is connected with railway line. The Chief Minister also requested Shri Prabhu to initiate steps involving railways for skill development of the youth of the region.
New Trains:The 10-km track between Karimganj and Maishashan was converted to broad gauge as part of the Lumding – Badarpur – Silchar Gaguge conversion project. With this, only 30 km between Baraigram and Durlavchera remain to be converted into broad gauge. The Railway Minister said that this portion would also be converted to broad gauge within next May 2017. Two pair of new trains – 55686 / 55685 Silchar – Maishashan Passenger & 55662 / 55661 Karimganj – Maishashan Passenger will start operating from tomorrow. The trains will run six days a week with 55686 & 55661 not operating on Saturday and 55685 & 55662 not operating on Sundays.The 55685 Maishashan – Silchar Passenger will leave Maishashan at 06.00 am to arrive at Silchar at 08.35 am. on the return journey, the 55686 Silchar – Maishashan Passenger will leave Silchar at 03.25 pm to arrive at Maishashan at 06.30 pm.On the other hand, the 55662 Karimganj – Maishashan Passenger will leave Karimganj at 05.00 am to arrive at Maishashan at 05.25 am. on the return journey, the 55661 Maishashan – Karimganj Passenger will leave Maishashan at 07.00 pm to arrive at Karimganj at 07.30 pm.
New Bongaigaon – Kamakhya Doubling:The doubling of 176-km long railway line was sanctioned in 2015-16 Railway Budget at an approximate cost of Rs. 2232 crore. The section will have 18 stations where construction of new station building and yard remodeling would be taken up. Each of the station building will have high-level platforms and foot over bridges. When completed, this double line will have speed potential of 110 kilometre per hour. The section will also have Limited Height Subways at 86 locations and road over bridges at 7 locations to eliminate level crossing gates in line with Indian Railway’s policy of removing all level crossing gates in a phased manner.
Digaru – Hojai Doubling:The doubling of 102-km long railway line was also sanctioned in 2015-16 Railway Budget at an approximate cost of Rs. 871 crore. The section has 15 stations. The doubling of Hojai to Lumding section had already been sanctioned for which the Railway Minister of State Shri Rajen Gohain and Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal had laid foundation stone on 12th September this year. Completion of these doubling projects will ensure continuous double line from the rest of the country to Lumding.
Electrification of Raninagar Jalpaiguri – Guwahati section: Electrification of railway lines in Assam had been a long-standing demand of people of the state. It is also a long-term goal of Indian Railway to electrify all railway routes in the country to reduce carbon footprint and make railways greener. The Railway Minister had recently announced that Indian Railway would electrify 24400 km of additional railway line under “Mission Electrification” in five years to add to the existing 28000 km of electrified railway lines in India. This would make 90% of railway tracks in India electrified. The electrification target for Indian Railways in the current year (2016-17) has been fixed at 2000 km. The Railway Minister stated that Northeast India being a richly endowed eco-sensitive zone, the measure for de-carbonization by railway electrification would be all the more relevant in ensuring a green future for the people of the region. Electrification of railway routes from Katihar to Raninagar Jalpaiguri and from Maldah Town to Kumedpur sections had been in an advanced stage. The project for electrification from Raninagar Jalpaiguri to New Bongaigaon and then from New Bongaigaon to Guwahati was entrusted with Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Mini Ratna Public Sector Undertaking under Ministry of Railways, in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The RVNL will execute the project on turnkey basis at a total cost of Rs. 655.55 crores. Under the project 382 route km and 687 track km of railway lines will be electrified. Completion of the project will ensure that Guwahati will have a seamless electrified route to cities like Kolkata and New Delhi and eliminate the need for changing locomotives from electric to diesel and vise versa. This will also ensure reduction of journey time and possibility of increasing speed of trains.