NEW DELHI, Nov 22 - The Centre today said it has firmed up plans to connect the capitals of the northeastern states (except Sikkim) with the Indian Railway network.
The capitals of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura have been connected by Broad Gauge (BG) network. Emphasis has been laid by the Centre during the last five years on quick execution of rail infrastructure projects.
The average annual expenditure in New Line, Gauge Conversion and Doubling infrastructure projects during 2014-19 was Rs 26,022 crore per year as against Rs 11,527 crore per year during 2009-14, which is around 126 per cent more than during 2009-14. Similarly, the average budget allotment per year for NE States was Rs 2,122 crore per year during 2009-14. However, it increased by 161 per cent to Rs 5,531 crore per year for this region during 2014-19.
In Arunachal Pradesh, a BG railway line was commissioned in February 2015 up to Naharlagun and the first Broad Gauge train was started on February 20, 2015, from Naharlagun (Itanagar) to New Delhi.
Long pending and delayed work of the Bogibeel Bridge on the Brahmaputra river was completed in 2018 leading to further reduction of rail travel distance from Dibrugarh to Naharlagun by 705 km (via Guwahati).
In some states, the progress of new line projects of capital connectivity has been affected mainly due to delay in land acquisition and law and order issues. All these capital connectivity projects being in hilly terrain of the Himalayas involve a large number of tunnels and major bridges in a very challenging geological environment. Works on new BG lines have been taken up by the Railways through the Government of India fund to connect the remaining capitals of NE states including Meghalaya (Shillong), Manipur (Imphal), Nagaland (Kohima) and Mizoram (Aizawl).