As a significant step in the Indian Railway’s ambitious plan of connecting all north-eastern State Capitals by Broad Gauge railway line was taken today with the Hon’ble Union Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu laying the Foundation stone of the 88-km Dhansiri (Dimapur) – Kohima new B. G. Railway line, which would bring Kohima – the last of the Capitals of north-eastern states – on to the railway map of India.
Indian Railway has already connected capitals of three of the eight states (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh & Tripura) and projects are under various stages of progress to connect four other Capitals of the states of Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya & Sikkim. With the laying of the foundation stone amid loud cheers from a huge gathering at Dimapur Railway Station this morning, project for railway connectivity to the capital of Nagaland has started.
His Excellency, the Governor of Nagaland, P. B. Acharya, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Nagaland Shri T. R. Zeliang, General Manager of N. F. Railway Chahatey Ram, General Manager of N. F. Railway Construction Organization Shri H. K. Jaggi, Senior Railway officials and Senior State Government officials of Nagaland and hundreds of people were present in the function held at the Dimapur railway station.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Railways said that in line with the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian Railways has drawn up several developmental plans for the north-eastern region. The Railway Ministry has decided to make the planning process for projects participatory having scope for people’s participation in the form of suggestions etc. For this an IT enabled platform is designed which will make people’s participation easy and the process transparent. All stake-holders would be able to participate in the planning process and monitor progress of the projects, he said.
Prabhu said, the north-eastern region is rich in cultural heritage and Railway’s would try to preserve and promote this heritage. For this, instructions have been issued to design all future railway stations reflecting the local culture and heritage of the region. He said the north-eastern region is poised for tremendous growth as better connectivity of the region will result in development of tourism, agricultural marketing, development of overseas market for local handloom & handicraft product and job opportunities. The region would be fastest growing region in the country in terms of economic growth, he said. He also said that the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would be advised to explore possibility of marketing the handloom and handicraft products of the state.
His Excellency the Governor of Nagaland expressed his confidence in the expertise and capability of the engineers of Indian Railways for speedy completion of the project and called upon the people of the state to extend all co-operations and help to the Railways and its contractors in executing the project.
Terming the day as a Red Letter Day, the Chief Minister of Nagaland Shri T. R. Zeliang said the State Government would do its best to help Railways acquire land for all projects and appealed to people of the state to co-operate in the process of land acquisition as railway connectivity would help the state economically. He requested the Railway Ministry to expedite the process of approval for the proposed Dimapur – Tizit new BG railway line and reconsider the proposal for Dhansiri – Karong new railway line with a provision for extending it along the National Highway up to Imphal as this would provide a shorter route to Imphal and beyond to Myanmar in line with the Look East Policy of the government.
Keeping in line with the avowed policy of the Indian Railways to provide Rail connectivity to all the state capitals of the Northeast, the Project of 88-km long Dimapur to Zubza (Kohima) new broad gauge line was sanctioned by Railway Board in 2007-08. Considering its importance, it was declared a National Project in 2007. The new line will take off from the existing Rail head at Dhansiri Railway station in Karbi Anglong District, 19 Km short of Dimapur, and reach Zubza which is 16 Km short of Kohima. Construction of this Railway line would bring the capital city of Kohima onto Broad Gauge Railway Map of India.