NEW DELHI, Aug 25 � Blaming poor infrastructure facilities and adverse internal security situation in the north-eastern region, the Railway Ministry has declined to fix targets for completion of projects taken up in the 11th Plan period.
In reply to a Lok Sabha question by Bijoya Chakravarty, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi blamed poor connectivity, bad road conditions, frequent road blockades besides adverse law-and-order situation in the North-east affecting progress of railway projects.
Railway is maintaining close coordination with State governments for providing adequate security at the project sites with Border Roads Organisation and State governments for improvement in road and bridge infrastructure.
During the 11th Five Year Plan, five new line projects covering a length of 344.8 km at an estimated cost of Rs 7,349 crore and two doubling projects covering a length of 65.5 km at an estimated cost of Rs 448 crore have been sanctioned for the north-eastern region, Trivedi added.
These projects are in various stages of execution and expenditure of Rs 380 crore has been incurred till March 31, the Minister said, adding that project work was progressing as per availability of resources and targets for their completion have not been fixed.
Meanwhile, the Rangiya-Lakhimpur gauge conversion project of the NF Railway is likely to be completed by March 2013.
Trivedi said Rangiya-Lahimpur gauge conversion project is a part of already sanctioned 510 km Rangiya-Murkongselek gauge conversion project. The project is in progress and Rangiya-Rangapara section is expected to be completed by March 2012.
The Minister further added that to step up investment and implementation of railway projects in the NER, a dedicated North-east Region Rail Development Fund has been created. The fund is a non-lapsable fund with 25 per cent from Railway�s gross budgetary support and 75 per cent from Ministry of Finance, as additionality and it would be utilised for funding of national projects of the region, Trivedi said.
Meanwhile, the Railway Ministry denied that old and dilapidated coaches were used in New Delhi-Guwahati-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. It is being serviced with new LHB design coaches, oldest of which are barely five years old, Minister of State for Railway Kh Munniyappa said.