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Assam to get 3 new mega railway projects
Ron Duarah
 DIBRUGARH, Feb 3 - The Narendra Modi Government has decided to gift three mega rail projects to the State, involving a total outlay of more than Rs 10,000 crore. The existing railway infrastructure like the Bogibeel bridge, new lines to the Barak valley, Manipur and Tripura, etc., are all roll-over projects from previous governments, and hence these three new mega projects would have the Modi touch, it is learnt.

The new projects are a new railway alignment between Sivasagar and Jorhat, a new line between Khumtai and Salona, and a new line between Silghat and Tezpur, with a railway bridge over the Brahmaputra at Koliabhomora. While not confirmed, a new railway bridge over the Brahmaputra at Saraighat is also a clear possibility. All these announcements are likely to be made shortly, most possibly by Assam’s own minister at the Centre, Rajen Gohain, who is Minister of State for Railways.

The Jorhat-Sivasagar alignment has been a long standing public demand, and the Dibrugarh Nagarik Sangha has been asking for this line since the past ten years. This line would complete the Jorhat-Sivasagar-Moran-Dibrugarh axis, and also act as a parallel to the Dibrugarh-Guwahati main line via Tinsukia and Simaluguri. The new Jorhat-Dibrugarh axis has the potential to bring about a transport revolution in upper Assam and also aid accelerated economic development of all the upper Assam districts.

The existing Jorhat-Baruabamungaon-Furkating link would also be extended from Khumtai to Salona, which would link up the Chaparmukh-Nagaon-Silghat line. A portion of the new Khumtai-Salona line may be subterranean, especially within the Kaziranga National Park area. As such, tunnelling works on this section is being considered, according to top railway sources.

The Tezpur-Silghat new line, along with a new railway bridge over the Brahmaputra at Koliabhomora, would complete the upper Assam railway expansion map. If the planners do their work well, sections of the new and existing alignments would be electrified and doubled, so as to enable smoother and faster rail traffic.

The proposed Dibrugarh-Guwahati Shatabdi Express is also likely to be commenced shortly. The Northeast Frontier Railway is awaiting the arrival of the spruced up new Shatabdi rake from Kapurthala, and once this arrives, the service will commence, with Dibrugarh as the base.

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