Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Arunachal now just a small stop away from rail link

Taba Chake, who has never travelled by train, with the inspection train.(Dasarath Deka)  Taba Chake, who has never travelled by train, with the inspection train. (Dasarath Deka)
Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Naharlagun | Posted: March 24, 2014 12:39 am

Taba Chake, a 22-year-old BA student at Itanagar’s Dera Natung College, has never travelled by train. “In fact I had not even seen one so close,” he said, as he touched coaches of a Light Goods Special that arrived here on Thursday last week.

As the train remained parked at the Naharlagun station for the day, others like Habam Tabe (26), Dobum Raja (19), Chukhu Paji (29), and Tamo Kame (30) kept rushing in and out of its nine coaches. The Light Goods Special was just an inspection train. However, for Arunachal that has long been waiting for a rail link, that was the first concrete indication that the link was just a step away. Naharlagun is just 10 km from Arunachal capital Itanagar. A tiny, 1.26-km stretch in Bhalukpong in East Kameng district, built back in 1989, is all that the state has by way of railway so far.

Commissioning is expected to take place after the elections given the code of conduct. Arunachal will see simultaneous general and Assembly polls. Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.
The lack of connectivity is a major issue in the sensitive state which shares a long boundary with China. China has already extended its railway network to Xigaze, close to Sikkim, and is also understood to have drawn up plans to bring one railhead to the border just across Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.

Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by PM Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.

The lack of connectivity is continued…

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