NF Rly set to launch Rs 1,000-cr projects

While the Dimpaur-Kohima link of 88 km would cost Rs 850 crore, the 33 km Azara Byrnihat link would cost Rs 200 crore and gauge conversion of Aluabari Siliguri would entail a cost of Rs 170 crore.

The declaration of the Bogibeel bridge and gauge conversion between Rangiya and Murkongselek as national projects has been another shot in the arm for the development of the area.

Stating this at a press conference today, the General Manager (open line) of the NFR AK Sanwalka said that with national project status being gained by the projects, work could be put on a fast track.

However, work on the Lumding Badarpur gauge conversion – another national project – has slowed down due to threats from insurgents. Last year several people engaged in the project were killed by militants, leading to low morale among railway and contract personnel.

Referring to infrastructure expansion, Sanwalka mentioned a range of plans like development of the Kamakhya station at a cost of Rs 20 crores. And another Rs 10 crore funded by the Inland Water Transport to develop its existing assets at Pandu.

‘Patch doubling’ would be carried out initially between Guwahati and Digaru. This would reduce congestion in the particular section and increase traffic handling.

Infrastructure of 24 new stations of NFR – four in Tinsukia Division and five each in Lumding, Rangia, Katihar and Alipurduar division – would be upgraded under the touch and feel scheme. They all would possess cleaner environment, better passenger amenities, extended circulating yards and new facades within the next few years.

On the sphere of technology induction Sanwalka revealed that new locomotives with higher haulage strength are being inducted into the NFR. The new locos would be useful in operating trains with more coaches and carriages. The commissioning of the anti-collision device (ACD), trials of which are in final stage, he claimed, would be a first for the entire Indian Railways.

The NFR has already increased the number of coaches in several important trains, and three passenger trains now have 22 coaches each, while three others have 23 coaches each. Through the increase in coaches 63,000 additional seats and berths have been created.

Referring to congestion near railway crossings, the general manager affirmed that while the NFR was keen to shoulder the financial burden to build road overbridges, the State Government had not shown an inclination to share 50 per cent of the expenditure. For the last three years, in spite of several attempts, the State Government had not seriously considered the issue.

The Assam Tribune,08.03.2007