MENDIPATHAR (GARO HILLS), Sept 8 – Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma today formally laid the foundation stone of Mendipathar Railway Station at a function in which he made a strong pitch for railway connectivity in the State.
The new station will connect with Dudhnoi in Assam through a broad gauge line that will cover a distance of 19.5 km. The project cost is estimated at Rs 175. 43 crore.
Significantly, it is the first time that a rail station will come up in the State known for its natural resources and tourism potential.
Dr Sangma urged the people of Meghalaya to be ‘open to opportunities’ which are ushered in by railways, and added that the State and its people will enjoy a socio-economic transformation once train traffic connects it with other parts of the country.
Referring to opposition from certain sections over expansion of rail network in Meghalaya, Dr Sangma dispelled such doubts reasoning that railway has always been a catalyst for positive developments and progress even in backward areas.
Appreciating the support the ongoing railway project has received from the local population, he said that North Garo Hills has showed the way for other parts of Meghalaya.
He thanked the NF Railway for its role in building vital infrastructure in his State, and hoped that other projects including a railway line between Tetelia and Byrnihat will be a reality in the near future.
NFR General Manager, RS Virdi, addressing the audience mentioned a few other projects which will lead to better connectivity in the hill State. On the anvil is a line linking Tetelia with Byrnihat and another linking Byrnihat with ‘new’ Shillong. The second project will have a cost component of around Rs 4,000 crore.
The function was also attended by Urban Development Minister and Transport Minister of Meghalaya, AT Mondal, former Chief Minister SC Marak and top NFR officials.
The project, if it stays on schedule, should be completed by March 2013, according to sources in the NFR.
Once functional, the track will be used to run one pair of passenger train and one goods train everyday. The decision is based on a traffic survey on the route.