Eye on China, govt to extend rail link to Sikkim

RAM

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Eye on China, govt to extend rail link to Sikkim

30 October 2009, 03:25am IST


NEW DELHI: To counter China's massive development of military infrastructure along the border in the northeast, India has decided to kickstart its
own mega infrastructure expansion by extending the country's rail link to Sikkim.

The construction of the link will connect the small northeastern state with the rest of the country. It will connect West Bengal's border town of Sivoke to Sikkim's township of Rangpo in the first phase — a distance of 52.7 km.

Officials said the broad-gauge line project would start soon as land survey has already been conducted for the first phase and it was expected to be completed by 2015-2016.

The project has great strategic significance since China has built several road, air and rail links in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which allows it to amass troops at the border in double-quick time. India, in contrast, has been slow to wake up to this security challenge.

The first phase of the rail link will cost around Rs 1,339 core. The railways will foot 75% of the cost through its gross budgetary support and the remaining 25% will come from the finance ministry.

Under the ambitious scheme, railways plans to later connect Rangpo to state capital Gangtok which would be taken up after the first phase. The survey for further extension upto Gangtok (69 km) has also been completed and the survey report is being examined by the ministry.

The foundation stone of the historic project will be laid by railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday. Vice-President Hamid Ansari will also be present at the occasion.

"This project will connect Sikkim to the mainstream of Indian Railway framework. More projects have been planned for the northeastern region which will not only be of geo-strategic importance but will also ensure overall development of the region," a senior railway official said.

Eye on China, govt to extend rail link to Sikkim - India - The Times of India
 

RPK

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Indian Railways to connect Bhutan, Bangladesh

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Cooch Behar (WB), Oct 29 (PTI) Indian Railways would connect Bhutan with Sikkim and Bangladesh through north Bengal, Railway minister Mamata Banerjee said today.

One survey for the Bhutan project was complete and three other surveys were now on for it, the minister, who will lay the foundation stone of the Rs-1,335 crore Sevoke-Rangpo railway project to connect Sikkim with rest of the country tomorrow, told newsmen here.

"Tomorrow, we will begin a historic project to connect Sikkim with the rest of the country," she said.

Location survey tender for the 52.7 km Sevoke-Rangpo railway project has been floated and Rs 10 crore allotted for it in this year's railway budget. The project is scheduled for completion by 2015.

Stating that the project on doubling of railway tracks between Changrabandha-Malbazar was on, she said it would help Bhutan in freight movement.
 

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