NEW DELHI, March 14 � The railway track 0doubling project is likely to be delayed further, as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is yet to clear the New Bongaigaon-Rangiya-Kamakhya doubling project.
Divulging this during a Question hour discussion, Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that the project once cleared by the CCEA would be expedited by the Railways.
Responding to a question by Bhubaneswar Kalita in the Rajya Sabha here on Friday, the Railway Minister said that at least 12 new lines, four gauge conversion and two doubling projects, with total length of 3115 km and at a total cost of Rs 47,909 crore have been taken up in Assam and North Eastern Region to improve infrastructure in this sector.
In addition, two doubling projects having total length of 278 km and cost Rs 2777 crore have been included in Budget 2015-16, he added.
He further claimed an all time high outlay of Rs 5215 crore has been allocated in 2014-15 and a provision of Rs 5338 crore has been made in Budget 2015-16. However, completion of these projects depends on many factors such as land acquisition, forestry clearances, law and order situation, which are beyond the control of Railways, Prabhu said.
Earlier, Kalita said the rapid development of transport and communication in the remote areas of the north-eastern region is a declared policy of the Government. In 2013-14, some doubling of railway tracks was declared in the Railway Budget. But those railway tracks and projects are yet to be implemented rather they have not even been started. In some of these doubling projects, the factors are not there. For example, the New Bongaigaon-Rangiya-Kamakhya doubling project does not have these problems. Then, why has the project not been started up till now? He questioned.
The Minister said that in Indian Railways, there are 66 sections where line capacity utilisation is more than 150 per cent, out of which only one section Digaru-Lumding falls in Assam. Doubling of Lumding-Hojai (45 km) was already sanctioned in 2012-13 and the remaining portion Hojai-Digaru (102 km) has been included in Budget 2015-16.
In addition, doubling of New Bongaigaon-Rangiya-Kamakhya (142 km) and New Bongaigaon-Goalpara-Guwahati (176 km), where capacity utilisation is more than 100 per cent, have also been included in Budget 2013-14 and 2015-16 respectively subject to requisite clearances, Prabhu said.
It is the Railways� endeavour to take up the projects in Assam and the north-eastern region on priority, Prabhu who has faced criticism over his Railway Budget said. Eastern Region is a declared policy of the Government.