Modi flags off first train from M’laya

Mendipathar will be greenest and cleanest railway station: Mukul

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off the first passenger train

GUWAHATI: Flagging off the first train from Mendipathar in Garo Hills to Guwahati along the newly-laid 19.75 Km Mendipathar (Meghalaya) -Dudhnoi (Assam) railway track, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid out the road map for massive expansion and modernization of Railway network and services in the country.

Modi said creation of infrastructure held the key to rapid economic development of any region.

He said railway was not only a mode for transportation, but also a yardstick of speed of development and symbol of strength of any country.

He also laid foundation of construction of a broadgauge railway track project connecting Bahairabi and Sairang in Mizoram at Maligaon railway stadium in Guwahati on Saturday evening in presence of Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, Governors and chief ministers of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Chief Minister of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma said the first railway track in the state would pave a new way of economic growth and prosperity for people of Meghalaya especially the farmers.

He pledged all cooperation from Meghalaya government to make Mendipathar the most secure, greenest and cleanest railway station in the country.

“We are encouraging 100 per cent FDI in railway sector for facilitating massive horizontal (spreading of railway tracks) as well as vertical (modernization, services and speed up gradation) expansion of railways. This will require skilled human resources and upgraded technology. We are planning to set up

four railways universities in four corners of the country to produce qualified human resources to be employed in the railways, ” the PM said.

Modi mooted for privatisation of railway stations located in prime locations of urban area of the country so that revenue generation for the railways gets a boost.

“Privatisation will facilitate setting up of modern hotels a, shopping malls etc. on railway station property while trains will be run underneath of those. All railway stations should be like modern airports in the country,” he said adding that when land prices have sky rocketed the properly belonging to railway stations in the

country have been left to remain unproductive.

Regarding requirements or rapid growth of the land-locked and far -flung Northeastern region, Modi said, “we have to equip our ‘Asta Lakhshmis’ (eight N-E states) to state-of-the-art infrastructure.

When adequate infrastructure is put in place, tourism sector will boom in the N-E region blessed with immense natural beauty, greenery and wonderfully friendly people. People from rest of the country and abroad can’t but flock to the region if proper infrastructure is created . That is why our government’s first railway budget allocated Rs 28,000 crore for linking entire N-E region to the railway network.”

“We have converted the Look East policy to Act East policy to put N-E on the fast track of development as we have realised that rapid development of this region is essential for development of the entire country,” Modi said promising to set up information highways in the region by laying optical fibre network all over besides building rail tracks and highways.