GUWAHATI, June 16 � In response to alleged adverse reports in some newspapers accusing the Railways of delaying the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project resulting in escalation of cost of the project, the NF Railway (Construction Organisation) has clarified in a press release that initially the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar gauge conversion project (198 km) was approved in the Pink Book in 1996-97 at a cost of Rs 648 crore. Later, the gauge conversion works of the Silchar-Jiribam (50.39 km), Badarpur- Baraigram (42.74 km) and Baraigram-Kumarghat (75 .08 km) were added at an additional cost of Rs 330 crore.
The detailed estimates were sanctioned at cost of Rs 1676.77 crore in various stages. The revised estimate was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 3846.09 in May, 2010 in which about 78.5 per cent cost hike is due to increase in the scope of works.
Further, the gauge conversion works of Baraigram-Dullabcherra (29.40 km), Karimganj-Maishashan and Karimganj bypass (14 km) have been added as a material modification at a cost of Rs 181.09 crore in 2011-12.
In connection with the progress of major items of the project, the Railway stated that formation in 332.59 km out of a total scope of 377.56 km has been completed and further 11.89 km will be completed in 2011-12.
There are 17 tunnels out of which seven tunnels have already been completed in all respects. Three more tunnels are planned to be completed in 2011-12. Works on other tunnels are in progress. The total length of all tunnels is 10,650 metres out which 5,773 metres have been completed.
The substructure of 79 major bridges out of 94 major bridges has been completed and substructure of further 10 major bridges has been planned for completion in 2011-12.
Similarly, the superstructure of 73 major bridges out of 129 major bridges has been completed and further superstructure of 44 major bridges has been planned for completion in 2011-12.
The 620 minor bridges out of a total 652 have been completed and further 20 have been planned to be completed in 2011-12.
Track linking in 115 km length has been completed and further track linking in 110 km will be done in 2011-12, totaling track linking in 225 km length by the end of 2011-12.
The Railway further stated that there is a dispute by the Forest department for acquired land measuring 3.6 hectares between Harangajao and Ditockcherra stations. As a result, work in Bridge No. 127 (7x24.4m) has been stopped since November, 2008. The land was acquired through the NC Hills Council. The Railway is pursuing the State Government and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Central, Shillong for clearance of acquired forest land so that work can be started.
Further, about 3.40 hectares of land in Cachar district, 3.75 hectares in Karimganj district and 4.015 hectares in Hailakandi district are yet to be acquired for which the Railway has already deposited the cost with the Assam Government.
On June 5, a third permanent diversion of Bridge No. 26 was commissioned between station Salchapara-Arunachal constructed for BG. Now MG trains are running over this newly-constructed permanent BG diversion. It is mentioned that two permanent diversions have already been commissioned in the Badarpur-Silchar section earlier.