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Long pending rail projects to be completed by 2023

Emphasising on better rail connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir and northeast regions, the Indian Railways will complete the long pending railway projects of national importance in the region by 2023, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said here on Friday.

Speaking at a press briefing, Yadav said the priority of railways in the next five years is to complete its 50 remaining super critical projects, augmenting capacity in order to introduce 1,500 new trains and wrap up its projects of national importance.

He said the top on the list is the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project which was declared a ”National Project” in 2002 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government.

The Chairman further said that the 161 km of the project has already been commissioned at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore while the remaining will be commissioned by 2022.

“The project was scheduled to be completed by 2020 earlier. The total cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 2,79,49 crore,” he said.

Yadav also said that all these projects have been delayed due to land acquisition issues, litigation as well as difficult terrain.

Pointing out at another project of national importance, Yadav said, the 51.38 km Bhairabi-Sairang project in Mizoram was sanctioned in 2008-2009, but remains to be completed.

“The new deadline for the project is 2023 and a cost of Rs 5,021 crore has been proposed for it,” he said.

The railway budget 2020-21 has proposed an outlay of Rs 400 crore for the new broad gauge new railway line for the year.

The railways has also set March 2023 deadline for the broad guage line connectivity from Dimapur (Dhansiri)-Zubza (Kohima) (82.50 km) in Nagaland which was sanctioned in 2006-07. The railway budget 2020-21 has earmarked Rs 300 crore for this project at a total cost of Rs 4,600 crore.

Yadav said, in Sikkim, the Sivok-Rangpo new BG line (44.39 km) which was sanctioned in 2008-2009 but suffered due to delay in handing over of encumbrance free forest land by West Bengal government is now scheduled to be completed by 2023. This project has been allocated Rs 607 crore in the 2020-21 union budget.

The Chairman said that the national transporter has identified another long pending project in Manipur connecting Jiribam to Imphal (110.62 km) which was sanctioned in 2003-2004, whose deadline of completion is now 2022.

“This project has been given a layout of Rs 800 crore in the 2020-21 railway budget while its total cost is estimated to be around Rs 1,25,24 crore,” he said.

Yadav also said that seven of the 58 super critical projects (projects underway in congested routes), have been completed in 2019, while one has been wrapped up in 2018. He said that the remaining 50 will be completed by March 2022.

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