Rail connectivity to all NE capitals within seven years

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Shillong, Jan 20 (PTI) The Railway ministry has drawn upan elaborate plan to develop railway infrastructure in theNortheast, connecting all state capitals in the next 5 to 7years.

Currently, there is a plan to connect Itanagar andAgartala during the 11th Plan while Aizawl, Imphal and Kohimawould be connected in the 12th Plan.

Shillong and Gangtok are expected to be connected in the13th Plan, an official statement said.

In addition, work for gauge conversion of existing linesis also being taken up.

At present, there is a network of only 2,447 km in theentire region which accounts for four per cent of the nationalnetwork.

Of the total railway network, about 97 per cent is inAssam and two per cent in Tripura. �Therefore, a veryaccelerated programme of rail connectivity is required toprovide the basic infrastructure capacity for the region torealize its economic potential,� it said.

According to the release, there is a demand to increasethe rail network in the Northeast to six per cent of thenational network in the next 10 years.

India is going to construct the Agartala-Akhaura(Bangladesh) line to connect Tripura to the Bangladesh Railwaynetwork having the potential to transform the face of thetransport infrastructure in the NE, the release said.

It has been decided that the projects of the Railwaysdesignated as National Project will be supported by the Centrein the ratio of 75-25 where 25 per cent will be given from theGross Budgetary Support of Railways and 75 per cent from theGovernment of India.

It has also been decided to create a fund for developmentof rail infrastructure in the region.

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