State-owned Indian Railways has set a target of providing railway connectivity to all capital cities of the northeastern states by 2020 and is planning to invest Rs 90,000 crore in the region for this purpose, reports The Hindustan Times. While Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura are already connected by rail, the capitals of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim and Nagaland do not have access to the country’s rail network.
The next to be connected will be Mizoram’s capital Aizawl. In Sikkim, work on connecting Rangpo, a town 40km away from state capital Gangtok, has been sanctioned. Railway connectivity will not only boost economic activity in the region, but will also provide the country’s armed forces with an easier and reliable option for movement of troops and equipment. The railways’ northeast connectivity plan also includes a 795-km railway line in Arunachal Pradesh that will give the Army accessibility right up to the China border.
The final land survey has been undertaken for three different lines along the Indo-Sino border and the final report will be given to the Ministry of Defence. The ministry had identified 14 such projects across the country of which four have been given the final clearance. Of these four, one line connects Leh to Pathankot while the rest are in the northeast.