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Centre to invest more time, energy, finance in NE: Prabhu

 Northeastern states, especially Mizoram, required better infrastructure and the Centre would invest more time, energy and finance towards it, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday.

“Being the most peaceful state in the country, Mizoram has all the recipe for development, including peace and human capital,” Prabhu said while laying the foundation stone of the proposed Railway station at Sairang, about 20 km from here.

Pointing out that rail connectivity would be one of the most important infrastructure development, the minister said, basic concepts of developments should be initiated by the local people and any infrastructural development should involve and benefit the local populace.

The minister was addressing a function held at the Suaka Cricket Stadium at Sairang.
Bamboo resources in the state should be exploited by creation of value addition for which rail connectivity would play an important role in social transformation, he added.

The function was attended by Mizoram Governor Lt Gen (retd) Nirbhay Sharma, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, state Transport Minister John Rotluangliana and Local Administration Minister P C Lalthanliana.

The Bairabi-Sairang new Broad Gauge line project is a part of the railways’ vision to connect all the capitals of the Northeast states through broad gauge line by 2020, the Railway Minister said. 

The new 50.38 km line originates from Mizoram-Assam border Bairabi town and terminates at the proposed Sairang station, about 12 km from the lone Lengpui airport. The broad gauge railway would have 23 tunnels (the longest being 1,766 metres), 38 major bridges and six tall bridges (the tallest being 117 metres) and four stations.

The Rs 2,384.34 crore project is scheduled to be completed by 2020 while the Northeast Frontier Railway officials expressed hope that the work would be completed by December 2019. The Railway Minister told a press conference in Aizawl that export of bamboo products and handicraft from the region to the rest of the country would be given priority, while North East Integrated Tourism Development Programme would boost tourism in the area. 

The Ministry of Railways has already conducted a survey to connect southernmost Mizoram’s Hmawngbuchhuah area near Myanmar border.

This was being done for establishing a link with the road constructed under the Kaladan Multi Modal Transport Project linking Sittwe port in Myanmar.

Soon train ticket reservation on demand

New Delhi: Soon passengers will get train ticket reservation on demand for all premier and mail/express trains as the railways has decided to undertake a massive capacity augmentation drive on its major trunk routes.

Besides tickets on demands, plans are afoot to run trains at 160 km per hour speed in Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes and gradual increase of speed of all trains including goods service. We have decided to run trains at 160 km per hour speed in Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah sector, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Friday while focusing on the need for increasing speed of trains at the Economics Editors conference.

Addressing the media through video conferencing, Prabhu said capital expenditure in railway sector has been increased significantly in the last two years and it will go up further. “Our Capex is Rs 1.21 lakh crore for this year which will go up to Rs 2 lakh crore subsequently. The fund is spent on expansion of railway infrastructure like doubling, new lines, electrification,” he said.

Spelling out the target for the next five years, Chairman Railway Board AK Mital said “Our aim is to provide ticket reservation on demand and increasing the speed of all trains including freight.” 

Besides, improving punctuality rate upto 95 per cent from the current 80 per cent, Time-Table for freight trains and zero-fatalities on tracks are some of the ambitious plans being charted out by 
the Railways for the next five years. 
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