NEW DELHI, March 23 � Lack of development of the region has been blamed on a long string of delayed railway projects in the North-east, with MPs calling for a fresh strategy to execute the pending ventures.
Participating in the discussion on the Railway Budget, several MPs slammed the failure of the Railways to complete the long-pending projects in the region.
Participating in the discussion in Rajya Sabha, Biswajeet Daimary said that this year no new project was announced for the region perhaps because whatever projects were sanctioned in the past 10-15 years are yet to be completed. The North-east is an isolated and backward region and therefore it should be seen in a different light, he suggested, adding that there is a need to frame a special policy for the region.
Listing out the pending projects, he said there was a proposal to connect Manipur with railway but the State is yet to see trains in the State. A portion of Nagaland is connected till date and Arunachal Pradesh is yet to see railway connectivity. Tripura has rail connection but when the entire country has BG connection, the State was connected with MG.
Daimary further underlined the need to complete the Rangiya-Murkongselek gauge conversion project. Some years ago it was proposed that neighbouring Bhutan would be connected with railways but no work has started so far. He suggested that a line connecting Siliguri to Rangapara and beyond to Tezpur would be more useful.
Participating in the discussion Kumar Deepak Das said progress of the projects, which have been declared �national projects� including Rangiya-Murkongselek gauge conversion as very slow paced.
Two new trains have been announced between Kamakhya and Tezpur via Rangiya and Rangapara. But the gauge conversion work on this line has not been completed till date.
Though the new railway budget has declared three new trains, two trains which were declared earlier by a previous minister in her budget speech have not been started yet. There is no reflection on that declaration status in this budget.
In Lok Sabha, Joseph Toppo complained that Railways has not paid any special attention towards North Eastern States in the current budget. The projects started in North Eastern States so far have either been discontinued mid-way or are lagging behind schedule. The construction work of Bogibeel Rail Bridge in Assam is lagging much behind schedule.
BJP MP Kabindra Purkayastha said that gauge conversion projects, conditions of the rails, security, electricity and other facilities should be given adequate consideration. Work on setting up of a railway medical college in Assam University should be taken up. A railway line from Assam to Kolkata via Bangladesh should also be introduced, he said.