India to lay 14 strategic railway lines near China, Pak border

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NEW DELHI: As part of preparations to meet challenges from China and Pakistan, India is planning to lay 14 strategic railway lines close to borders with these two countries to help in easier and faster movement of troops.

The railway lines are besides 73 roads being constructed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, sources said in Delhi on Sunday.

Out of the 14 planned railway lines, survey has been completed for 12, they said.

The railway lines have been planned in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

Of the 73 roads with a total length of 3812 km, laying of 61 roads covering 3,404 km have been assigned to Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the sources said.

27 of the 61 roads are being constructed in Arunachal Pradesh, 12 in Jammu and Kashmir, 14 in Uttarakhand, five in Himachal Pradesh and three in Sikkim.

17 roads have been completed, they said. Out of 73 roads, 12 are being constructed by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for ITBP, they said.

The infrastructure development is being carried out as China has made strides in this regard and India is lagging much behind.

Defence minister AK Antony conceded in Parliament last month that China is "superior" in terms of border infrastructure as India was late in deciding on building roads and other capabilities near the LAC because of the impact of the 1962 war.

He had described it as a "collective failure" of all the successive governments.

Antony, who was answering questions on increased intrusions by Chinese troops, had said all steps were being taken to safeguard national security while seeking a peaceful solution to the long-pending boundary disputes between the two sides.

"I have no hesitation to say that China is in a better position than India in terms of border infrastructure. It is a mistake, it is all of us who are to be held collectively responsible for it. It is a historical legacy," he had said.

After "years of neglect", he said India is fast developing capabilities near the China border, including building of roads, raising of two mountain divisions and setting up many new airfields and landing grounds.

"...If you compare overall, in the last ten years, our government has developed maximum infrastructure in those areas," he said.

The increased incursions by Chinese troops have lately resulted in some incidents of face-off.

Commenting on those situations, Antony had said, "Infrastructure is coming up in disputed areas (along the LAC) also. Patrols are coming closer and as a result, we see there are incursions. They come and go, they come and go and sometimes, situations of face-off also take place. We feel we can go to the areas we feel are ours and they also do so."

India to lay 14 strategic railway lines near China, Pak border - The Times of India
 

Sridhar

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Anusha Soni
November 2, 2013 Last Updated at 20:24 IST
Tracking the borders

India has planned 14 strategic railway lines in areas bordering China, Pakistan and Nepal, but most of these projects are stuck for want of funds


With China all set to pump on another $1.2 billion in its Tibetan Rail project which will bring rail connectivity right up to the Indian border, India too is getting ready to beef up its border security. On the agenda are 14 strategic rail lines along its borders with China and Pakistan. However, while these rail lines are critical to meeting India's security challenges, want of funds could delay these ambitious projects which are expected to cost more than Rs 78,000 crore.

Some of these lines were planned a hundred years ago but have not seen any development. Surveys for two of the 14 lines are still to be completed and cost of four lines yet to be estimated. The main hurdle has been the absence of a cost-sharing agreement between the various ministries involved.

In December 2012, Defence Minister A K Antony had in the Lok Sabha described these 14 lines as being strategically important for national security. The rail lines, planned in accordance with inputs from the defence ministry, are to be laid in the border areas of Punjab, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. (Click here for graphics)

The three lines planned in Rajasthan are crucial for the movement of troops and artillery to the border. "The terrain of Rajasthan is suited for mechanised warfare. But some tracks in the state are still [the ageing and archaic] meter gauge, with single lines. Doubling [the tracks] in the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer area will save the time required to move supplies," says Brig (retd) Rumel Dahiya, deputy director general at the Institute of Defence Studies & Analyses. "If you have a broad gauge rail line in the border areas, you can move tanks and heavy artillery without noise and dust," he adds. Experts say that enhanced connectivity can save up to two days' of travel time. The Patti-Ferozepur track in Punjab, for example, will reduce the time taken to supply goods to border areas, like Tarn-Taran district, by about 12 hours. The line will run parallel to the border and will enhance the strategic mobility and flexibility in employment of troops," says Dahiya.

Moving to Uttarakhand, four lines are planned here in the difficult Himalayan terrain. Official sources say that work has started on the 160-km Hrishikesh-Karnaprayag-Chamoli line and that the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which has undertaken the task, is currently awaiting environmental clearances for the initial 12-km stretch. RVNL has submitted details of the line alignment to the state government and Railway Board for approval.

One of the most expensive lines - expected to cost about Rs 19, 108 crore - is the 378-km-long Missamari-Tawang link which will connect areas of Arunachal Pradesh, disputed by China, with Assam. With the Chinese aggressively building infrastructure on the other side close to the border, this line becomes crucially important. "Chinese infrastructure projects have grave strategic implications for India and are a significant leg of the overall Chinese recalibration in South Asia," says Monika Chansoria, senior fellow at the Centre for Land and Warfare Studies (CLAW) in Delhi. "This extensive development of infrastructure in areas bordering India suggests the impetus being given to the People's Liberation Army's logistics capability, which, in turn, will enhance its operational capability in these areas - some of which are in dispute with India," Chansoria adds. Experts also point out that the road network in Arunachal Pradesh and the rest of the Northeast is on the ridges running from north to south. There is almost no connectivity from east to west, which increases the distances three-times.

The Akhnoor-Poonch line, meanwhile, would create a parallel network along the border with Pakistan and enhance connectivity near the Line of Control with Pakistan.

* * * * *
Of the 14 lines, preliminary survey for 10 has been completed, but work has begun on only two. This is despite the fact that these rail lines have been declared national projects. Funding is expected from the finance ministry. Railways had earlier expressed its inability to fund any of these projects.

Apart from the Hrishikesh-Karnaprayag line, work on the 30-km stretch of the Murkongselek-Pasighat segment has been started by North Frontier Railways. Government officials who are part of the project point out that this segment is a flat track and that the real challenges lies ahead, in the rest of the track from Tezu to Rupai. The cost of the 30-km stretch is expected to be around Rs 10 crore per km.

Official sources say that recently the Uttarakhand chief minister had asked for the projects in the state to be speeded up, but the cost involved is proving to be a hurdle. Sources in the Planning Commission say that "unfortunately" these projects are not on the priority list for funding. "Although we understand that these projects cannot be placed in the same category as other projects, but there is currently no consensus on resource allocation," says a senior official in the Planning Commission.

Other officials maintain that these projects need to be phased out. "We are in consultation with the defence ministry so that it can identify the priority projects. A cost-sharing formula also has to be agreed on between the ministries of defence and finance and the Planning Commission," says an official.

A final location survey might also be needed before funds for the projects are allocated. "Usually, the project gets the money after the preliminary survey, but in this case, keeping the cost escalations in mind, we might want to have a detailed project report first," says an official.

Apart from the costs, the tough terrain also poses a challenge. Experts say India does not have any experience of building rail tracks at high altitude and in tough terrains like those in the Himalayas.


* * * * *

There is no good news with regard to road construction either. The Cabinet Committee on Security had set the deadline of 2012 for the completion of 73 key road projects which were classified as India-China Border Roads.

The defence ministry has been pushing for faster construction of these 73 roads that can be used around the year and can sustain harsh weather conditions. About 15 of them have been completed till now. A study done by CLAW points out that the construction of roads in the Northeast has been put under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North East. The project, divided into two phases, will undertake the construction of 1,300 km in the first phase and 5,700 km in the second. The deadline is 2013. About 36 out of these 73 roads are in Arunachal Pradesh, given its proximity to China.

The worry is not without reason. China has built a network of integrated highways and subsidiary/feeder roads that connect the Tibet Autonomous Region to border areas with India, Nepal and Bhutan. It has developed 58,000 km of road network in Tibet, which includes five major highways and subsidiary roads, says a study by CLAW.

The Yunnan-Tibet highway holds strategic importance for India, as the Chinese army is currently building an eastern theatre opposite to that of India. China is also heavily investing in border areas by constructing new airfields and upgrading new advanced landing grounds. "The construction of airfields and advanced landing grounds closer to Indian borders boosts the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) fighter aircrafts' striking range and provides PLAAF the ability to strike and engage targets in India on a broad front and in depth," says Chansoria.

Delay from the Indian side to boost the infrastructure will have long-term effects on India's overall bargaining power, especially with China, says a former defence officer on the condition of anonymity. A study has also revealed that low infrastructure development also makes India "more vulnerable to manipulation of river water". In 2004, after China informed India that an artificial lake had formed on Pareechu river, a tributary of Sutlej, India was denied the permission to assess the causes of its formation, causing suspicion that the lake was man-made.

Dahiya points out that poor infrastructure also leaves out the emotional integration of people. "It makes people disconnected and gives the enemy a chance to fuel local unrest and take advantage of the situation."

The rail links, assert experts and defence officials, are fundamentally important to national security as we already lose out on the competition with China.

Tracking the borders | Business Standard
 

Ray

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It should be in consultation with the Defence to include the dimension & weight of future eqpt..
 

Blackwater

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Question is not ,to be or not to be:cool2::cool2:

Question is When???:p:p
 
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Nice development. Between rail lines and the super hercules equipment and
Soldiers can be transported in the most remote areas in a hurry.
 

Abhijeet Dey

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If there is a shortage of funds is it possible to invest India's foreign exchange reserves on all these strategic projects?
 

Dinesh_Kumar

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Hope the lines are built quickly and staffed and led by competent people who care abt India...........
 

Prashant12

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A Gamechanger for Sikkim: The new railway line between Sivok & Rangpo will bring in more opportunities of employment, education and commuting. This new line will also facilitate fast and easy movement of our armed forces to nearby border areas in Sikkim.

 

Prashant12

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Indian Railways new Sivok-Rangpo rail project

This route connects to Sikkim which shares borders with China so it will be easier for the Indian soldiers to commute easily. It will also make travelling faster and easier for the Indian Soldiers at the nearby Nathula border.
The upcoming Sivok Rangpo railway project connecting West Bengal to Sikkim promises an unimaginably breathtaking train journey
Indian Railways Sivok Rangpo rail project: West Bengal to Sikkim in just two hours? A new game-changing Indian Railways line is set to transform the heart of Northeast like never before! The upcoming Sivok Rangpo railway project connecting West Bengal to Sikkim promises an unimaginably breathtaking train journey, through the picturesque mountain terrains and forest reserves. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone along with IRCON international Limited, has proposed to construct the 44.98 km long Sivok Rangpo railway line, which will enable travelling between Sivok in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim in just two hours.

An NFR spokesperson told Financial Express Online that the total cost of sanctioning the project is Rs 4085.58 crore and the construction has already been started on route. He added that the tentative time of commissioning of this rail line project has been set as June 2021.


Indian Railways’ Sivok-Rangpo Rail Project – route, distance and other important features:

The proposed Sivok rangpo railway project will be implemented by the NFR zone along with IRCON International Limited, which was formerly Indian Railways Construction Company Limited. The proposed project has several benefits as the northeast part of the area from Sivok to Rangpo has a single road route which is not very smooth. The route mostly shuts down in monsoons due to landslides, jams and many other reasons. This makes traveling very tough over this route. However, the Sivok Rangpo rail line will come as the ultimate solution for regular passengers and tourists in this area.

Strategic Importance of Sivok Rangpo rail line:

This route connects to Sikkim which shares borders with China so it will be easier for the Indian soldiers to commute easily. It will also make travelling faster and easier for the Indian Soldiers at the nearby Nathula border.

Sivok Rangpo rail line route:

  • The journey will cover Sivok, Reang, Teesta Bazaar, Melli and Rangpo stations on its route. The Teesta Bazaar will be developed as an underground railway station.
  • The rail line spans across a total length of 44.98 kms crossing as many as 19 bridges and 14 tunnels. The tunnels on the route covers a total length 38.55 kms, with the longest tunnel covering 5270 metres and the smallest tunnel covers 538 metres. Interestingly, these tunnels cover almost 85% of the total journey.
  • The rail line will cut through mountains and valleys to connect Sikkim to the main Indian railway network for the very first time.
Developed as an Indian Railways ‘green’ project: This new railway line is also a green project as it takes care of environmental concerns.The line will cross through Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Kurseong forest division, Darjeeling forest division, Kalimpong forest division and the East Sikkim forest division. However, it will not disturb the environment and wildlife as the train will run through tunnels

Big boost for tourists and passengers: The Sivok-Rangpo rail project is largely important as it will make travelling easy and satisfying not just for the people of West Bengal and Sikkim, but also for passengers/tourists from across the country and the world. It will also be a big boost for revenue generated through tourism as the route will connect many tourist places and hill stations such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong through the railway network. This will, in turn, make traveling easier for tourists.

Improve industrial connectivity:

  • This line will also improve trade of industries like medicine, hydropower projects which is main revenue generation source of Sikkim
  • It will be very helpful for students as this project, by connecting major states and towns, will open professional and academic opportunities for students
  • Traveling across these routes will be made much easier, cheaper and time saving hence improving the socio-economic welfare of the region
WATCH VIDEO: Sivok-Rangpo rail line project- IRCON and Northeast Frontier Railway zone brings Sikkim on Indian Railways Map


Not just bringing a big boost for the Indian Railways network, but the rail line will also stimulate the tourism industry and socio-economic welfare of Northeast. The Sivok Rangpo railway line is set to revolutionize the transport infrastructure across the country, giving new mobility solutions for passengers and tourists.

https://www.financialexpress.com/in...o-sikkim-in-just-2-hours-watch-video/1691100/
 

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