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Railway connectivity needed for development in Arunachal:Governor

Written by: Staff

Itanagar, June 21 (UNI) Arunachal Pradesh Governor S K Singh has urged the Centre to provide railway connectivity to the land-locked state.

''A major railway network is mandatory for Arunachal Pradesh for guarding the border, fighting militancy and winning over hearts of the people feeling neglected and deprived'', he said while addressing the sixth summit of North East Council (NEC) at New Delhi on Tuesday, official sources informed.

Enlisting the priority projects-33 km Harmoti-Itanagar rail line to link state capital, 30.6 km Murkongselek-Pasighat rail line estimated to cost Rs. 122.93 crore, 120 km Rupai-Parsuramkund rail line, early completion of Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge and gauge conversion of Rangia- Murkongselek-, he said that the state has three km rail line six decades after independence.

If China could built the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, world's highest rail line touching 5,072 mtr and 960 km above 4,000 mtr by spending 3.16 billion dollars to protect its interest and national security, the demand for good railway infrastructure for North-East should not be weighed through viability criteria, he said.

''The decision makers in the ministries concerned have to think in terms of security, in both internal and external, our relationship with surrounding countries like China (and its autonomous region of Tibet), Myanmar, Bhutan etc, without ignoring our problems with both factions of NSCN, the ULFA'', he said.

The penetration of railway network would give a blow to the militancy and such strategic aspects encompassing nation's security cannot be neglected for economic viability, he argued.

While Arunachal has vast potential for timber-based industry, cultivation of exportable medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables, its estimated annual hydropower potential stood at around 50,000 MW.

For construction of hydropower projects over the next 10 years would require import of 20 to 40 million ton heavy items and equipment, which could only be possible through a functional rail line considering the poor and narrow roads of the state, he said.

Citing the example of the Udhampur-Baramullah Railways, which, passing through the mighty Himalayas against all odds has opened up remote areas, changed the landscape of the region and awakened the people to the benefit of a united society in Jammu and Kashmir; the governor proposed rail-cum-road bridge at Sadiya to link Lohit, Dibang and Lower Dibang Valley districts and connecting all foothill districts-Tirap, Changlang, Lohit, Lower Dibang Valley and East Siang-through railway networks on priority.


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