Rail link only after anti-influx steps: CM

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Saturday said the state government would go ahead with railways in the state only after addressing concerns of the civil society.
Different NGOs have been opposing railways in the state as they fear it would facilitate large scale influx and want the state government to first take measures to tackle it.
Talking to media persons here on Saturday, the chief minister said that railways is an important economic infrastructure for the state but there are concerns raised by the civil society and these need to be addressed and for which discussions are taking place.
“Once their concerns are addressed, we are sure that the work will start,” he said while maintaining that the issue of railways would be taken forward only after taking everybody on board.
He, however, supported the idea of bringing at least goods train to the state which will benefit the land-locked state. “The construction has to happen in any case, but since there are concerns, it will be appropriate for us to address those before going ahead and we are confident of addressing those issues,” he said. The NFR is keen to hold talks with all the stakeholders in the state to ensure that the railway project at least up to Byrnihat materialises. At present, the NFR, which is working on the Tetelia-Byrnihat railway line is concentrating only in Assam and awaiting the state government’s green signal before starting work in Meghalaya.
The NFR is also hopeful that one day, the railways would be welcomed in Meghalaya after it takes all the confidence-building measures. The construction work of the Tetelia-Byrni-hat railway line was halted a couple of years ago due to opposition from local NGOs. Of the 21-km project, only around two kilometres fall under the jurisdiction of Meghalaya.

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