Sinlung /
18 May 2011

Delays in Mizoram Railway Track Extension

mizoram railway station bairabi_thumb[10]Aizawl, May 18 : The construction of the extension of a vital broad gauge rail link between Bairabi rail terminus on the Mizoram-Assam border and Sairang, a village 20km west of Aizawl, is on in full swing.

However, the engineering staff of the Northeast Frontier Railway (construction) fear that the inordinate delay in getting the revised cost estimate of the Bairabi-Sairang rail extension project sanctioned by the Railway Board in New Delhi may put a spanner in the completion of this landmark project by March 2014, as envisaged by the railways.

The cost escalation papers were forwarded to the railway ministry late last year, but is yet to get the final nod of the Centre.

Zasanga, a retired official of the Indian postal service and at present the secretary of the state level task force of the Mizoram government, is helping the NFR (construction) to complete the rail project. The delay in the construction of the extension of the broad gauge is bound to push up its cost, he said.

The original outlay of this project, when the inter-state 51km Lalabazar-Bairabhi metre gauge link was commissioned, was envisaged at Rs 519.34 crore in 1995, he said.

It was revised last year to Rs 2,384.34 crore for a track through the hills and forests spanning 50.9km in length.

“Any delay in the funds allocation for this railway project is bound to hike its overall cost,” Zasanga said.

A few student groups and NGOs in Mizoram are opposed to this rail extension scheme as they apprehend that after the completion of this project, outsiders would come into the state and enjoy the prospects of new trade and business establishments.

Mizoram chief minister Lalthanhawla has set aside such fears of assimilation of the indigenous people with the outsiders and made it clear that the this rail link would prove to be useful for exporting the state’s agri-horticultural products as well as import other goods at lower prices.

Zasanga said 24 tunnels would have to be dug for facilitating the train movement in this 50.9km rail extension network and at least 11 big bridges would also be built.

The project, being a national one, will be administered by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and the Centre would bear 75 per cent of its cost and the rest 25 per cent would be borne by the railways, said Zasanga.

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