Sunday, March 31, 2013

Railways asked to speed up projects

Guwahati, March 10: A parliamentary panel has asked the ministry of railways to make all-out efforts to clear hurdles coming in the way of its projects in the Northeast so that early rail linkages can be provided to people of the region.

This was stated in the report of the department-related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs tabled in Parliament this month.
“The ministry of railways should analyse the situation and make all-out efforts to clear the hurdles and should not leave any stone unturned for ensuring timely completion of the projects so that early rail linkages are provided to people of the region,” the report stated.
Railway sources said regular coordination meetings were being held with state governments to expedite land acquisition and forest clearance for the projects. The railways are also in constant touch with the governments and ministry of home affairs to ensure security at the work sites.
Citing figures on the slow progress of projects, the report said the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal linkage venture had achieved only 20.73 per cent of the physical target while the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra, that is supposed to link the north and south banks, still has 24.61 per cent work left to be done.
On the Bogibeel project, the railways said the contract for the superstructure had been recently awarded and agency was mobilising resources.
The report said work on the Bogibeel bridge was often disrupted by rebel activities in the area along with extortion demands by militants and criminals. Moreover, disturbances at work sites and security threats to railways officials and employees of contractors also hampered its progress. The project completion target is December 2015.
While the new railway line between Dimapur and Zubza (Kohima) is at the geographical survey stage, work on the Tetlia-Byrnihat and Bhairabhi-Sairang lines is also progressing at a slow pace. “Only 34.49 per cent of the physical target has been achieved on the Agartala-Sabroom line and other railway projects, too, do not give an encouraging picture,” the report added.
The Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line, on the other hand, has hit a green hurdle, with the forest advisory committee asking the Manipur government not to start work on the broad gauge project unless forest clearance is issued.
The railways had earlier started work on the project in violation of the Forest Conservation Act since 2010. Work on 15 tunnels had already been started.
The railways informed the committee that efforts were being made to complete the projects within the target dates.

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