NEW DELHI, 8 July-2014, PTI: It’s good news for northeast India in this Rail Budget as government on Tuesday proposed seven new trains besides earmarking Rs 5,116 crore for various projects in the region.
Railway minister DV Sadananda Gowda announced a premium train — Kamakhya-Bengaluru Premium Express — and an AC weekly express train between Naharlagun-New Delhi will be introduced in the current fiscal.
Kamakhya station is within Guwahati city while Naharlagun is 12km away from Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar. Two daily intercity express trains — Guwahati-Naharlagun and Guwahati-Murkongselek–will be introduced during 2014-15, Gowda announced while presenting the Railway Budget in Parliament.
Kamakhya will also be connected with Katra in Jammu & Kashmir with a weekly express train. Two passenger trains have also been offered for the northeastern region. They are Guwahati-Mendipathar passenger (daily) and Rangapara North-Rangiya passenger (daily). The railway minister said there are 23 projects underway in the northeast, of which 11 are national projects.
In 2014-15, an outlay of Rs 5,116 crore is earmarked for projects of northeast and this is a 54 per cent jump over allocations in the previous year.
“With higher allocations and by close monitoring of works in this region, I hope that Dudhnoi-Mendipathar new line, Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar gauge conversion, Harmuti-Murkongselek and Balipara-Bhalukpong sections will soon get commissioned. These measures will also give a boost to the state capital connecting projects in the region,” he said.
Govt may set up Railway University
With an aim of providing railway-oriented education, the government is considering setting up of a Railway University for both technical and non technical subjects. The railway minister also spoke about the plans for skill development of the staff while presenting the Rail Budget for 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha.
“I am contemplating setting up of a Railway University for both technical and non technical subjects,” Gowda said.
He said the railways could tie up with technical institutions for introducing railway-oriented subject for graduation and skill development. In the meantime, staff at the ground level will be sent for short duration courses of technical and non technical nature, involving locally available technical institutions.
The exposure for specialised areas like high-speed, heavy haul operations etc will be undertaken for all level of staff and officers at appropriate institutes in India and abroad, he said. Gowda also spoke about plans to harness solar energy by utilising roof top spaces of Railway stations, Railway buildings and land through the PPP model.
He added that Indian Railways will start using Bio-Diesel up to 5 percent of total fuel consumption in diesel locomotives. “This will save precious foreign exchange substantially,” Gowda said.