After the long pending demand for sprucing up train connectivity between Guwahati and Upper Assam besides focusing on good connectivity through the North bank, Indian Railways announced two new Shatabdi trains connecting Guwahati with Tinsukia and Naharlagun.
This is for the first time Shatabdi Express trains will run in the Northeast although a Jan Shatabdi connects Guwahati with Jorhat town.
Announcing the trains, Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain also mentioned about a slew of initiatives to boost connectivity in the region, including a safari train for tourists and a separate railway policy.
“Several new trains have been approved and will start running soon. These include two Shatabdi Express from Tinsukia to Guwahati and a fully AC three-tier train running from Guwahati to Bangalore via Kolkata. The exact date of their inauguration is being worked out,” the minister said. “We are also planning a high-end Northeast safari train for promotion of tourism and creation of employment similar to the one in Rajasthan. We have called a meeting of tourism secretaries of the northeastern states on September 10 in Guwahati to discuss the issue as it will require assistance from all the states,” Gohain added.
Gohain, who was inducted into the Narendra Modi ministry in July, recently reviewed the projects being executed by the NFR.
Commenting on the Railway’s decision, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed it as a great news for the entire Northeast and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Railways minister Suresh Prabhu for the initiative.
Earlier, the Union cabinet approved double lining of the Bongaigaon-Guwahati route besides Up-gradation of Guwahati and Agyathuri railway stations to world class stations on Public Private Participation (PPP) model.
The Railways is also considering setting up of a bottled drinking water plant under the RailNeer brand at Jagiroad in Assam for which land is being surveyed for exact location.