During the discussion with chief minister Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi informed that soon the Arunachal Express will be upgraded to a Rajdhani Express.
Union Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi along with officials from the Ministry and Railways called on Chief Minister Pema Khandu here this morning. During the courtesy call, both discussed on way forward to fast-track ongoing and proposed railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh.
Expressing gratitude to the MoS for the attention given by the Center for development of railway connectivity in the frontier state, Khandu emphasized that connectivity is the only bottleneck for the otherwise potential state. He sought special attention of the Ministry in providing optimum railway connectivity in the state.
He said Arunachal Pradesh, especially Tawang district, is much disputed by China and railways reaching the farthest districts would be a befitting reply to the ‘claims’, while urging the Ministry to speed up the work on the Sela Tunnel paving way for the railway line to Tawang from Bhalukpong.
Talking about the Shatabdi Express, introduced between Naharlagun and Guwahati, Khandu said it is one of the most sought after travelling mediums for commuters. He, however, stressed on the need to change the departure time of the train from Naharlagun.
“On popular demand of commuters, we would request the ministry to defer the departure time from Naharlagun by about two hours. It departs at 5 am at present, which is too early for passengers from Itanagar and nearby places. It may be deferred to at least 7 am,” he urged.
The Chief Minister also requested the Ministry to extend the route of the Kamkhya Express at least up to Dibrugarh. He reasoned that the extension would facilitate travel by tourists, especially devotees coming to Parashuram Kund in Lohit district.
He further requested fixing the rate of land compensation for railway tracks as fixed and offered to Assam, which the ministry has accepted.
The Railway Minister assured that his officials would immediately seek out the feasibility of deferring the departure time of the Shatabdi Express and do the adjustments promptly. On request for increasing its frequency (it only runs thrice a week), he said directives have already been given to railway officials to study the feasibility.
Hailing Arunachal Pradesh for its natural bounty, Angadi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving special preference to the North East in terms of connectivity and the Railway Ministry is duty bound to reach out to states like Arunachal Pradesh.
He said all railway projects in the state will be fast-tracked and that no stone will be left unturned to complete them on time.
On request of the state government to connect the Arunachal Express to also connect Murkongselek, Angadi informed that soon the Arunachal Express will be upgraded to a Rajdhani Express.
“Arunachal Express will become Arunachal Rajdhani Express soon. As all Rajdhani Express trains are meant to connect state capitals, it won’t be feasible right now to connect Murkongselek with the Arunachal Express,” he informed.
To another request, the Railway MoS assured that all old coaches of the trains coming to Itanagar are being replaced in phased manner. He informed that all trains will soon have brand new and new-age coaches soon.
Angadi also informed that an arrangement has already been reached with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for ferrying its products to Gumto, where IOC has its distribution plant, through train. This, he said, will ease traffic congestion as well as ensure regular and timely supply of petroleum products to the state.