SHILLONG, Jan 20 � The Railway ministry has drawn up an elaborate plan to develop railway infrastructure in the Northeast, connecting all State capitals in the next 5 to 7 years.
Currently, there is a plan to connect Itanagar and Agartala during the 11th Plan while Aizawl, Imphal and Kohima would be connected in the 12th Plan.
Shillong and Gangtok are expected to be connected in the 13th Plan, an official statement said.
In addition, work for gauge conversion of existing lines is also being taken up.
At present, there is a network of only 2,447 km in the entire region which accounts for four per cent of the national network.
Of the total railway network, about 97 per cent is in Assam and two per cent in Tripura. �Therefore, a very accelerated programme of rail connectivity is required to provide the basic infrastructure capacity for the region to realize its economic potential,� it said.
According to the release, there is a demand to increase the rail network in the Northeast to six per cent of the national network in the next 10 years.
India is going to construct the Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) line to connect Tripura to the Bangladesh Railway network having the potential to transform the face of the transport infrastructure in the NE, the release said.
It has been decided that the projects of the Railways designated as National Project will be supported by the Centre in the ratio of 75-25 where 25 per cent will be given from the Gross Budgetary Support of Railways and 75 per cent from the Government of India.
It has also been decided to create a fund for development of rail infrastructure in the region. � PTI