Passenger train service launched from Agartala

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Agartala, Oct 5 (UNI) Tripura got the railway link with the rest of the country today after three and half decades of attaining statehood, with the launching of two passenger trains between Agartala and Lumding as well as Silchar of Assam .

A dozen of top officials of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) were accompanied by the trains, had reached here around 12 noon and NFR Deputy Regional Manager S S Narayanan flagged off the Agartala-Lumding Express Passenger 5696 Up and Agartala-Silchar 863 Up at Agartala stations at 1315 and 1400 hours respectively.

According to reports, Agartala Lumding Express has left with 456 passengers while Agartala Silchar Passenger train left with 549 travellers of both short and long distance.

Thousands of people assembled along the railway tracks from Agartala to Kumarghat to witness the historic moment, cheering and blowing conch shells, even though no formal function to flag off the train services was organised.

Tripura's capital Agartala has become the second state capital in the northeast after Guwahati to come on India's railway map after 61 years of independences.

In spite of this, it could not satisfy Tripura people, as only metre-gauge track were installed in the route, which was obsolete now, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said.

''The train service from Agartala is the outcome of our five-decade long struggle but our demand is to expand the service up to the southernmost point of the state, Sabroom and convert all the metre gauge lines to board gauge soon. Otherwise, it does not make any sense of connectivity,'' Mr Sarkar underscored.

The railway project in Tripura was declared by the Prime Minister as a national project and NFR had spent Rs 760 crore to connect Agartala with rail.

Moreover, three big tunnels had to be built at Longtharai valley, Baramura and Atharamura hills in Dhalai. The 1,962-metre Longtharai tunnel has become the second largest railway tunnel in Asia.

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