MDA 2.0 hunts for ways to clear railway project

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, March 24: Under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend railways to Shillong, the MDA 2.0 is readying itself to give it the final push, albeit for goods trains only.
Meghalaya is one among some Northeastern states where the Railway Ministry’s plan to connect all state capitals has come unstuck. For over four decades there has been fierce resistance over fear of influx of outsiders.
On Friday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma disclosed that the state government was trying to find a non-ILP mechanism to check influx before giving green signal to the long-pending project.
“The people are not against railway as such. The people are concerned about the issue of influx and the protection of our identity. We are engaging and we are trying to figure out how we could come to some kind of solution,” Sangma said while speaking to reporters here.
He also felt that ILP is not the only way to address the issue influx since it is only one of the ways.
According to him, if the state gets ILP then that will be great. “If not then how do we move forward? What are the other options? So all these aspects are being discussed,” Chief Minister said.
He also informed that even in Byrnihat there are also some concerns and they are also engaging in discussions with the different stakeholders.
“I have mentioned that we can start with the goods train since this is something that will help the state’s economy and the farmers in particular. We are very clear with our stand that we would like to engage with everybody and take it forward in an amicable way,” he said.
Informing that he had discussed this matter with the Union Railway Minister in Delhi recently, he said that he was told that Prime Minister is deeply concerned since he would like to see that all the state capitals have rail link in the larger interest of the nation and ensuring the growth of its economy.
“Obviously Prime Minister has good intentions while he intends to push all states and Railway Ministry to achieve this,” he said.
The Chief Minister noted that every state has its own complications and in Meghalaya different organisations and traditional heads have raised concern regarding issue of influx in view of the introduction of railways.
Sangma clarified that the state government was yet to receive the NOC from the KHADC in connection with the Shillong railway line.
“We are still discussing on it,” he added.

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