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Forest clearance delaying rail projects

By Prabir sil

AGARTALA, May 3 � The works for the railway extension line from Udaipur to Sabroom would intensify within a couple of weeks as the State Government is persuading the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE) for environmental clearance, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) sources confirmed.

Of the total proposed rail track from Udaipur to Sabroom, around 70 per cent will be laid in Reserve Forest (RF) areas, according to the alignment.

�Clearance from MoFE appears a major hurdle for the rail project. The State Government has already taken up the issue with Delhi to get the clearance at the earliest. No doubt, the ongoing election exercise is also hindering the process�, said an NFR official here on Friday.

�It is not a fact that works for the rail extension project have not got underway. We are working on the project where the NFR got �jote� land. Obviously, works will gain ground once the forest clearance is achieved�, he said.

In Bagafa forest division, a total of 155.49 acres of �jote� land has been handed over to the NFR. And remaining plots will be handed over to the NFR after getting nod from the MoFE.

As per the schedule, the 56 km proposed rail track is expected to be completed by December 2016 next. However, the deadline could be achieved only if the land is handed over to the NFR in time. Now, the work is in full swing in between Agartala and Udaipur which is scheduled to be completed by March 2015.

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