Left Front protests delayed railway projects in north-east States

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Agartala, Aug.3 (ANI): Hundreds of Left Front supporters in Agartala on Monday staged a demonstration to protest against the Railway Ministry's decision to defer the completion of major 16 railway projects in north-east India by two years.

Under the banner of the ruling Left Front, the protestors assembled at the Badharghat Railway Station and also in front of all the Government establishments, located between Bishalghat to Sabroom, in the extreme south of Tripura to demonstrate against the Railway Ministry.

The protestors blamed the Central Government of a step motherly treatment.

"We all know that Minister of State for Railways, E Ahmed announced in the Parliament that the Agartala-Sabroon railway line completion target and that of conversion of Dharmanagar-Agartala to broad-gauge has been deferred to year 2014. Similarly, other projects in north-eastern states of India have also been deferred. We are protesting against this decision of postponing the completion deadline of these projects and demand they should be completed by 2012 as scheduled earlier," said Amal Chakraborty, a youth leader of the Left Front, Agartala.

Later a team of six members visited the office of the Station Master and submitted a charter of demand for early completion of the ongoing railway projects under the Northern Frontier Railways.

In contrast to the Railway Ministry decision to link all the capital cities of eight north-eastern states and also declaring some of the projects as one of national importance, over the past five years, the Northern Frontier Railways could complete only 292 kilometres track length of the proposed projects.

The Left Front supporters threatened to stage a major protest if their demands were not given attention to.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) B K Handique on Monday informed the Rajya Sabha that out of total 666 sanctioned projects, 402 have not started yet due to various bottlenecks.

Over 400 projects sanctioned by the Centre have been pending in North Eastern states, a number of them for over three years due to various reasons including law and order issues and limitation of technical expertise in the region.

Handique told Rajya Sabha that the main reason for their pendency, inter-alia, included the shorter working period because of long rainy season in the North East, delay in release of funds by state governments to the implementing agencies, law and order problem and limitation of technical expertise.

Handique said his ministry was regularly monitoring implementation of various projects.

"The state governments have been advised to ensure timely release of funds to the implementing agencies and also review the progress on quarterly basis," Handique added. By Pinaki Das (ANI)

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