Centre earmarks Rs 10, 000 crore for rail link in NE

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Shillong, Jul 9 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Railways Rangasamy Velu today said the UPA government has earmarked Rs 10,000 crores for connecting the North Eastern States, including Sikkim, by railways even as he announced that there were 19 ongoing railway projects in the region.

Talking to mediapersons here after reviewing the railways projects with North East Frontier Railways, Mr Velu said the UPA government was committed to providing railway connectivity to all the north eastern States.

The Union Minister opined that railway connectivity will ensure that backward regions develop at a faster economic rate.

On the railways projects in Meghalaya, Mr Velu said the 20 km Dudhnoi-Mendipathar (Meghalaya) at an estimated cost of Rs 86 crore has already been sanctioned.

He said the project will be completed within four years and work will commence from November 8.

The second project to be approved is Rs 200 crores Azara (Assam) to Byrnihat (Meghalaya) railway line. Mr Velu said there has been some problem with land acquisition on the Assam side but assured that the project will take off soon.

'' I have asked the Assam government to resolve the land acquistion issue and we will complete the project by 2013,'' Mr Velu said.

On the proposed Byrnihat-Shillong railway line, he said the project was in a nascent stage and survey work was under progress.

The minister however, informed that that this project was a bit difficult as it involves rough terrain and high altitude.

''The Meghalaya government had been requesting for a railway link up to Shillong and we are now undertaking the survey, '' he said and informed that the proposal for starting a rail link from Pancharatna to Silchar that goes through Southern part of Meghalaya hugging Bangladesh is under active consideration.

The approval for starting this 437 km stretch of railway line was now lying with the Defence ministry, he said.

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