Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East Policy” has led to faster work on infrastructure development projects in northeast India, including the extension of railway lines, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said here on Friday.
“Due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Act East Policy’, the projects relating to infrastructure development of northeast India are being implemented on priority basis. The projects include roads and railways,” Gohain said after flagging off the “Humsafar Express” train from here to Bengaluru.
“By 2020 all the remaining state capitals would be linked by broad gauge railway line.”
The capitals of Agartala, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are already connected by broad gauge railway lines. Works for extension of railway lines in Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland are going on with top priority basis, while in Sikkim and Meghalaya, some land related problems have become a hurdle.
Tripura’s capital on Friday was linked with Bengaluru by “Humsafar Express”, becoming the second city in the northeast to get a newly introduced train, equipped with modern facilities.
Friday’s event was a formal inaugural and services for the public will start on January 9. The weekly train will link the two state capitals via Kamakhya, Howrah, Cuttack and Vijayawada.
The 3,030 km train service was launched from Kamakhya (near Guwahati) to Bengaluru on December 25, 2016. Now it has been extended to Agartala.
According to the Northeast Frontier Railways’ (NFR) General Manager Chahatey Ram, the train, the first connecting southern India with Tripura, will halt at seven stations between Agartala and Guwahati and at 28 stations in between Agartala and Bengaluru Cantonment station in its 3,614 km long journey across six states.
The Humsafar Express train, which is a fully AC 3-tier service, has 14 coaches, provided with on board Wi-fi and infotainment, he said.
“Better than the Rajdhani Express, ‘Humsafar Express ‘ train coaches are equipped with facilities like GPS (Global Positioning System) based passenger information system, and fire and smoke detectors,” said Ram, adding that they will also have mobile charging points and reading lights for each passenger along with easy upper berth climbing arrangement.
The Humsafar Express, promised in the budget, will also have facilities like baby nappy changing pads, and tea and coffeemakers.
The railway authorities since 2016 are operating the Kanchanjunga Express — between Agartala and Sealdah (Kolkata) via Assam’s Silchar and Guwahati twice a week, and the weekly Tripura Sundari Express between Agartala and Delhi’s Anand Vihar station besides Rajdhani Express.
The NFR is now extending the railway lines up to southern Tripura’s border town Sabroom, 135 km south of Agartala.
Gohain, in the presence of Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey and other Members of Parliament, also flagged-off the passenger train services on the newly-laid 9.2 km track between southern Tripura’s temple city Udaipur and Garjee.
This new broad gauge section is a part of Agartala-Sabroom railway project being executed to get access the Bangladesh’s Chittagong sea port, which is just 72 km away from Sabroom.