Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Centre gives nod to Lanka-Sutnga project

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Jaintia Hills to figure in country’s rail map

From CK Nayak

 NEW DELHI: A new chapter in the history of Jaintia Hills was created on Monday with the Centre agreeing to take up a new Lanka-Sutnga railway project.

Informing this here on Monday, the Railway Ministry sources said to begin with there will be a engineering-cum-traffic survey for the new line passing through Umkyrpong and Pala. “The work will start once the survey is completed,” it added.

This line when completed would come as a big relief to the extremely congested National Highway 44.

Hundreds of cement and coal laden trucks from Jaintia Hills have created virtual nightmare for the commuters in this stretch.

Incidentally, Meghalaya Government as well as the Union Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Vincent Pala had urged the Centre to bring Meghalaya under rail-map to exploit its vast mineral and tourism potentials.

While Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma had submitted several presentations to the Centre in this regard, Pala wrote to UPA Chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi as well as then Railway Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee.

This new Lanka-Sugnga railway project could be declared as a national one in view of its importance. In that case the full funding will be done from the Central budget.

Work for the project will be done on war footing since the Guwahati-Shillong road is choked to the neck.

In the last Rail budget, ten projects in the Northeastern region were declared as national projects and creation of North-East Region Rail Development Fund was initiated to ensure necessary funds for timely completion of the projects.

Meanwhile, Pala, who met Mrs Gandhi on Monday, thanked her for the new Lanka-Sutnga railway project.

Mrs Gandhi had taken up the matter with the Ministry for a balanced growth of the hill state. “People of the State would be immensely benefitted from the new railway line,” he said in a separate letter to Mrs Gandhi.

Later talking to The Shillong Times, Pala said the state Government has already taken up the issue of allotment of land for the new project.

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