On Tuesday, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu assured the state assembly that the state government will urge the Railway Ministry to fast-track the construction of the Indian Railways broad gauge project from Murkonseleg in the state of Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The railway project has been halted due to land compensation issues, according to a PTI report. The CM informed the House that the government of Arunachal Pradesh is serious about the project and would soon sit with ministry officials to resolve the matter at the earliest. For the first phase of the railway project, covering a distance of 7 km, an amount of Rs 73 crore was paid as compensation to the affected land owners, the CM said.
According to Khandu, the high rate of compensation was due to district officials’ wrong interpretation for which the Arunachal Pradesh government had ordered an inquiry by the Special Investigating Cell (SIC) of the police. He further said that the ministry had raised objection to the high rate of compensation and an amount of Rs 160 per square meter has been fixed for agricultural land as compensation for the project’s second phase from Liku River to Pasighat in the district of East Siang, covering a distance of 16 km. Besides, the proposed project would connect Tezu and Parsuram Kund in the district of Lohit with Namsai and Rupai in Assam’s Tinsukia district as well.
The CM said that the survey for connecting Pasighat with Parsuram Kund is currently going on other than track-laying works for another railway line from Lakhimpur in Assam to Aalo in the state’s West Siang district, and Bhalukpong in the district of West Kameng to Tawang.
The entire network of Indian Railways across the Northeastern states has been converted into a broad gauge network. Between the period 2014-2017, a total of 972 km of railway lines have been converted into broad gauge network. Now, all the states in the Northeast except Sikkim have been connected by Indian Railways. However, in the coming years, even Sikkim is likely to be connected by the rail network.