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'NE capitals to be connected with BG by 2020'

By Correspondent

AGARTALA, Jan 13 - The first-ever BG trial run from Ambassa to Agartala in Tripura has been conducted successfully on Wednesday in presence of Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Kumar Singh.

Thousands of people thronged Agartala railway station to witness the historic moment � virtually bringing Agartala, capital town of Tripura under the country�s BG rail network.

People burst into cheers when the BG trial train with six coaches touched Agartala railway station around 2.45 pm today. NFR officials, who had made a history by making BG conversion work within three months, were elated at seeing the first BG train at Agartala railway station.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself wants the Indo-Bangla railway project to get implemented at the earliest.

�I have already sought a report on the land acquisition process for the project. It appears the land acquisition cost has increased from Rs 31 crore to Rs 200 crore due to delay. The Railway doesn�t have a treasure to spend so much money to acquire land�, he said.

Singh made it clear that the Centre favours to have a rail network from Agartala to Gangasagar (Bangladesh).

On the passenger train service upto Agartala, the Union Minister said passenger and goods trains are supposed to begin in the newly-laid BG track by March next.

�If possible, the passenger train service may be extended upto Bishalgarh or Udaipur by end of March. And, another railway extension project from Udaipur to Sabroom is scheduled to be completed by March 2017�, he said.

Recalling the BG conversion work�s past, Singh said it was former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had declared the work upto Agartala as national project ensuring sufficient fund.

Later, talking to the media, the Union Minister said the Centre has set a target of connecting all the State capitals of Northeastern States with BG rail network by 2020.

�To implement the target, the Centre will invest Rs 85 lakh crore in the Railways in the next five years�, he added.

PWD Minister Badal Chowdhury, Transport Minister Manik Dey, MP Sankar Prasad Dutta and General Manager (Construction), NFR HK Jaggi witnessed the milestone event.

A cash bonanza of Rs 3 lakh was given to �Team Jaggi� for making the BG conversion work from Kumarghat to Agartala within three months though the allotted time was six months.

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