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Modi to flag off GH rail ‘digitally’

Mukul sidelined Purno, Salseng to attend inauguration ceremony

Tura: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s plans to showcase his ‘developmental’ agenda by getting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the first railway project of the state at Mendipathar in North Garo Hills has reportedly hit a high wall with Modi deciding to launch the train service from Guwahati via digital video conferencing.

The Prime Minister will flag off the first train service linking Mendipathar in Garo Hills to the rest of the country from Maligaon station of Guwahati at 5:15pm on November 29.

The entire programme is expected to be undertaken through the digital world in which Prime Minister Modi is also expected to address the several thousand people.

“Modi will speak to the people of Garo Hills via video conferencing,” informed Meghalaya government officials.

Preparations are currently underway to host this once in a lifetime event in a magnificent manner.

A galaxy of stars that include dignitaries and government officials are scheduled to attend.

Two top political leaders from Garo Hills who will stand out in the crowd on that happy occasion will be former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma and former Meghalaya Chief Minister Salseng C Marak.

Purno Sangma had pushed for the establishment of the railways into Garo Hills over thirty years ago.

Sangma had propagated that the arrival of the railways would have led to cheaper pricing of essential goods and faster transport of man and materials.

Salseng Marak, as the then MLA of Resubelpara ultimately endorsed thr move to have the railways when he became the Chief Minister in the 1980s’ despite stiff opposition from Garo Ngos.

The first ever railway station at Mendipathar located nearly 90km from Tura in West Garo Hills and 220km from the state capital Shillong is expected to be a boon for Garo Hills, particularly the traders and farmers.

It will connect Dudhnoi in Assam through a broad gauge line covering a distance of 19.75km. The railway link will facilitate better connectivity between Assam and Meghalaya and boost business and tourism potential.

“After years of hard work and persuasion to the resisting forces, Meghalaya is finally on the railway map. It will lead to multi-dimensional growth and socio-economic transformation of Garo hills region. The northern part of Garo hills will now become the commercial centre,” said Salseng C. Marak, former chief minister of Meghalaya and chairman of the Meghalaya State Planning Board.

There will be one stop along the route to Garo hills – Resubelpara. The foundation for the project was laid in September 2012 by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma. The chief minister had said during the foundation laying ceremony that the government was keen to extend the Dudhnoi-Mendipathar railway track to Tura and Dobu in Meghalaya.

On January 18 this year, a three-coach train had arrived at Mendipathar as part of a trial run in the presence of Planning Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi.

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