GoI to connect all NE capitals with mainland: Minister

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Aizawl, Feb 04 (UNI) Minister of State for Railways R Velu today said the Centre has in principle decided to connect all the capitals of North Eastern states with mainland India by Rail for which the government has already released sufficient funds.

Addressing mediapersons at the PIB's Editors' Conference here, after the inaugural session, the Union minister said the Ministry was also committed towards development of the Northeastern Region and it was investing more than Rs 1000 crore every year for developmental projects in the Northeast Frontier Railway.

''In line with the resolution adopted by the North Eastern Council (NEC), the Union government had decided in 1979 to connect all NE states with rail. To meet this objective, massive construction work was necessary. Therefore, a separate construction organisation, called the Northeast Frontier Railway Construction Organisation, was set up under a separate General Manager in 1979 specifically for taking up these massive construction projects,'' Mr Velu said.

To ensure that funds constraints did not slow down the projects, five of the eight new projects in these states have been declared as National Project by the Ministry of Railways.

''The completion of these projects will add 685 km of new lines to the existing network. The latest anticipated cost involved in these projects is about Rs. 5695.85 crores,'' the Minister added.

He said the Railways is also facing stiff resistance in certain pockets of North East where there were many incidents of killing, kidnappings and other serious crimes on Railway staff, contractors and labourers. Besides this, less available time for carrying out construction work due to heavy rainfall and tough terrain are other serious impediments being faced by the Ministry.

''We have been requesting the Centre and the state governments to increase security in those disturbed pockets so that we can complete our task on time,'' the minister added.

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