Ministry of Railways has sanctioned and allocated fund for conducting the Final Location Survey of the Aluabari-Thakurganj section of about 19 Kms, Arariya-Thakruganj-Siliguri section of about 168 Kms, Siliguri Town-Gulma (By pass line) of 14 Kms & New Jalpaiguri-Siliguri section of 8 Kms for construction of new double lines.
- The rail route from Katihar/Malda Town to Dibrugarh is the main cardinal route of Northeast Frontier Railway system. This important rail route connects the North-eastern region comprising seven States with the remaining States of India.
- The doubling of the Broad Gauge line of the targeted sections are of high priority importance for N. F. Railway, as this portion acts as a vital bridge between the North-eastern states of India and the rest of the country.
- On completion of the proposed Doubling works, there will be four lines connectivity from Katihar to North-eastern states which will help in better mobility of railway traffic to North-eastern states with the Northern part of India.
- Under ‘Act Northeast Policy’, GOI has been investing hugely in the infrastructure sector including agriculture which will be bound to increase the transportations needs. So traffic load is likely to increase very significantly on this route.
- The region is important for trade, commerce and tourism for West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, and International countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
- These sections, once completed with doubling of railway line will be considered as a major alternative connectivity for the zone that will reduce the time, cost and distance of transportation for both man and materials thus giving a major socio-economic boost to the areas and the entire region.
- The project will lead to creation of a huge amount of job opportunities for both skilled & unskilled people. Infrastructural development like new stations, road connections, goods yards, businesses will lead to overall economic growth of the nearby districts.
- Also, these double lines will directly boost transportation with international countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, as ease in transportation of raw materials and other necessities will be available at lesser cost and time.
- Punctuality of coaching trains will also improve significantly saving commutation time for passengers. Goods movement will become seamless leading to major cost reduction for existing businesses using freight services.
- Indian Railways are constantly investing significantly for the betterment of connectivity in the region. By the implementation of the project, more rakes can be loaded and moved within the same time frame leading to economic earnings for Indian railways. Cost and time competitiveness of rail will increase significantly in the region in comparison to roadways.
Source: Northeast Frontier Railway- Press Release | Image Credit (representational): MoR