Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain Monday said Meghalaya government needs to tackle anti-railway protests and the Centre will go ahead with the construction of railway infrastructure in the state. “The government of Meghalaya should take interest (in tackling anti-railway protests). This is a local problem, so they have to tackle it and it is their duty,” Gohain told reporters here on the sidelines of the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in the state.
“We are very keen to bring railways upto Shillong, but for that we need support from the government and the public,” he said. Stating that the Centre will go ahead with the constructions of railways in the state Gohain said, “We are trying to convince the people that it will not harm, but help them. They will get a direct link from here to the entire country.”
“It will be more beneficial for the people of Meghalaya once rail comes to the state,” the Minister said Asked if the truckers’ lobby is behind the anti-railway protest in the state, Gohain said “The truckers’ association may be behind it.”
Construction of railway infrastructure has been halted in the Khasi Jaintia Hills region following an arson attack led by Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) activists at Ronghona village in Ri-Bhoi district last month.
In the attack, damages worth over Rs 70 lakh have been estimated by the railway authorities, following which work was halted temporarily. The KSU has aired its opposition to the extension of railway lines in the state capital and said there will be an influx of outsiders in the absence of any checking mechanism.
Three other anti-railway groups will observe a sit-in protest on June 21 against the ruling Congress government for facilitating extension of railways in the state.