Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal today approved to extend Visakhapatnam-Jagdalpur express upto Kirandul in Dantwada district to facilitate easy transport of passengers in the Naxal-affected region of Chhattisgarh, officials said. Goyal approved several rail projects for the state while chairing a high level meeting of officials in the presence of state Chief Minister Raman Singh here. To boost the transportation facilities in the Naxal affected Bastar region, the union minister gave approval to run Visakhapatnam-Jagdalpur (Bastar district) express upto Kirandul, an official here said. The minister also sanctioned a new rail line between Nagpur Road Halt and Manendragadh via Chirmiri. The cost for setting up this rail line will be equally borne by Centre and state governments, he said. Goyal directed to complete the first phase of East Rail Corridor project between Kharsia and Dharamjaigarh by September 2018. Meanwhile, the union minister also directed South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) and Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) to jointly draft an integrated project for the proposed 182km-long Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh)-Barwadih (Jharkhand) rail project.
New coaching terminals at Raigarh and Dongargadh were also approved during the meeting, the official said. Besides, Goyal, who also has the Coal portfolio, reviewed coal projects in the state. Earlier, Goyal chaired a meeting of South East Central Railway (SECR) zone and South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) officials. There, he directed the railway officials to upgrade passenger amenities in railway stations of tourist importance under SECR zone which has three divisions- Raipur, Bilaspur and Nagpur, a railway official said.