Finally, union rail budget has been presented and North East India has nothing to cheer about the rail budget. While union Railway Minister DInesh Trivedi made right noises about lack of fund for infrastructure development in border areas like in North East India, Jammu and Kashmir.
Presenting his maiden Budget on Wednesday, the Rail Minister lamented that its projected requirement of Rs 45,000 crore has been slashed to Rs 24,000 crore. The national projects in Kashmir and North-east were to be funded out of this, he said, adding that he had projected a requirement of Rs 4,000 crore this fiscal for the national projects.
The Railway Budget had no projection on completion of vital rail projects like the Lumding-Badarpur gauge conversion project, the Bogibeel road-cum-rail project and Rangiya-Murkongselek project.
At least 10 rail projects in the North-eastern region have been declared as national projects, including the three mentioned above. Last year, while presenting her Budget, Mamata Banerjee had said that North-East region was a very sensitive issue and projects were in progress to provide connectivity to State capitals of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
The proposal to create North-East Region Rail Development Fund has already been initiated to ensure necessary funds for timely completion of national projects in the region.
Though some new trains have been announced which includes a new train between Mumbai and Kamakhya, over all the railway budget is disappointing for the people of North East India.
Bogibeel Bridge is very important for large population of Lakhimpur Dhemaji districts in Assam and half of Arunachal Pradesh in order to access Assam Medical College and airport in Dibrugarh.