Imphal: Minister of State for External Affairs & Education Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh wrote to Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw thanking him for the recent Budget outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore for railways.
In a letter sent to the Railway Minister, Dr. Ranjan said that he wanted to raise issues regarding the Northeastern region during the discussion on the DFG of Railways but the continuous lockjam in the House resulted in writing the letter.
In the letter, Dr. Ranjan mentioned that the budget estimate of railways this year is the highest since Independence. This will cater to the needs of railways which is one of the largest transport net-work in the world.
He further said that the North Eastern Railway has been allocated a sum of Rs.10,988.80 crore for the fiscal year 2023-24, which is a huge allocation and is Rs.300 crore more than the last year budget allocation.
Highlighting the need for setting up of a railway coach factory in the NE, the MoS said that during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee as Railway Minister, she made an announcement in the Parliament that a coach factory will be set up at Imphal.
He said that it is the right time to set up a railway coach factory in the Northeast as we have the technology and the country is making the finest coaches. As committed earlier, a coach factory may be set up in Manipur so that we can cater to the needs of the South East Asian countries, he urged.
Dr. Ranjan said that a Railway recruitment cell is being opened at Imphal from 2020 which was personally requested in 2019 to the Railway Minister.
He said that the Agartala to Akhaura and Araria to Galgalia will establish brisk commercial links with Bangladesh. Moreover, the Imphal-Moreh-Mandalay line, though futuristic, will play a great role in connecting with ASEAN countries, he added.
Reminding again, to connect Imphal by 2024 as promised, Dr. Ranjan said that 92 percent work progress has been completed in the Imphal-Jiri Railway line, then from Imphal we may proceed towards Myanmar through Moreh as contemplated by the Railway Minister. Once the railway line is completed this will be a boon for future prosperity of the region and of the country at large, he added.
The MoS further said that once the Indian Railways are linked with the rail network of ASEAN countries, scope for trade and commerce would be expanded like anything. This will help the Northeast in becoming a growth engine of the country as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, he continued.
Thanking the Ministry, regarding the development of 59 Rail Stations with International amenities and facilities, he said that this will act as Amrit Bharat Station in the region.
He said that Agthori Station near Guwahati is going to be redeveloped with World Class facilities at the cost of Rs.517 crore. Like Agthori, the up-coming Imphal Station should be made a world class station because this will act as the Gateway to ASEAN rail network, he noted.
Dr. Ranjan said that as indicated 100 PM Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals for multi model logistics facilities will be developed and 400 new generations Vande Bharat trains will be manufactured in three years and hope the Northeast will get its share.
Dr.Ranjan further requested the Railway Minister to start a Centre for Geological Study for the entire NE region under Manipur University. This will help in the construction, upgradation and expansion of railways, he added.
Beside this, he urged the Railways Minister to add the word “Awapalli” in the name of Kamranga Railway Station in Barak Valley in Assam.