By Anurag Paul
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off two trains bringing Arunachal Pradesh in railway map of the country last week. Efforts are on to connect all major towns of the state by rail link.
Balipara-Bhalukpong railway track is completed and awaiting trial run in April, Railways General Manager RK Singh informed Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Saturday, according to a statement from the CMO in Itanagar. A proposal for connecting Parshuram Kund and Pasighat through Tezu is in the pipeline, it said. Singh, who called on Tuki along with a team of railway officers, also informed him about the Along-Silapathar-North Lakhimpur railway line.
He sought help from the state government on issues relating to land acquisition near the Naharlagun Railway Station to build a bridge over river Pachin, the statement said. The General Manager also asked the CM to help them in identifying a suitable land for construction of a railway guest house and office. Tuki assured Singh of all assistance and said that any kind of development is welcome in Arunachal Pradesh, the statement said.
Often referred to as India’s land of rising sun, and despite almost 27 years of attaining statehood, Arunachal remains accessible by road and to some extent , by air. However there are remote areas that are accessible only on foot. Coming of the rail line was greeted with enthusiasm by the travelling public, the traders, power developers and tourist agents. The state has massive tourism potential and is eyed by major power developers, both public and private, as the ultimate source of hydro power development. The state is developing 41,400.5 MW capacity of power and its hydro power potential is estimated to be around 60,000 MW.
Before the just launched daily passenger train service on the Harmuti – Naharlagun (Itanagar) broad gauge section, the state had only 1.26 km railway line inside its border with a single station, Bhalukpong, in East Kameng district. In January 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced introducing train service in his package for the state.