Newly converted North Lakhimpur–Murkongselek, Balipara– Bhalukpong broad gauge sections opened

Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu today inaugurated new train services on the North Lakhimpur – Murkongselek and Balipara – Bhalukpong sections in the North-East after the completion of their conversion into broad gauge lines.
The inauguration was organized through video-conferencing between Rail Bhavan here and Murkongselek in Assam and Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh.
While Mr Prabhu participated in the inaugural function from here, Union Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and Kiren Rijiju were present at Murkongselek and Bhalukpong.
The 15613/15614 Guwahati-Murkongselek Intercity Express, the   55719/55720 Dekargaon-Bhalukpong Passenger (on newly gauge-converted Ballipara-Bhalukpong section), the extension of 55429/55430 Rangiya-Rangapara North Passenger upto Dekargaon with New Nos. 55721/55722, extension of 55613/ 55614 Dekargaon-Harmuti Passenger upto Murkongselek with new No. 55813/55814 and increase in frequency of 15903/15904 Dibrugarh-Chandigarh Express from weekly to bi-weekly were the services inuaugurated today in keeping with announcements made in the Railway Budget 2012-13.
Mr Prabhu said it was a "golden day" in the history of Arunachal Pradesh, which was got its second broad gauge line. Earlier this year, the state capital Itanagar was provided connectivity with the national capital through a direct train. 
"I am sure this rail connectivity will bring prosperity in the lives of people of this State," he said.
He said the opening of the newly converted lines also marked the completion of the Rangiya – Murkongselek gauge conversion project running along the north bank of the Brahmaputra. This will start a new era of development for the people of this region. 
The 510 km gauge conversion project costing about Rs 3600 crores was sanctioned in 2002-03.  The project suffered delay mainly due to funds constraint in the past. But in 2014-15, an outlay of Rs 713 crores was provided for this line and the balance Rs 300 crores has been provided in 2015-16. 
Mr Prabhu said that 13 new lines, three gauge conversion and four doubling projects, with balance fund requirement of Rs 37,000 crore, had been taken up in the North-East. They will, on completiton, augment the network in the region by 1915 km, he said.
He pointed out that, at present, only the capitals of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh were on broad gauge network in the region. Agartala, the capital of Tripura, is connected at present with metre gauge and is set to be on the broad gauge network by March 2016.
Mr Prabhu said it would be the government's endeavour to connect the capitals of Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya by rail with the rest of the country in the next 5-7 years.  

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