Southern Assam finally gets direct train to New Delhi

Photograph (used here for representational purposes only) courtesy: Vinoth Thambidurai/Creative Commons

People of the multi-ethnic Barak valley in southern Assam played a crucial role in India independence movement. But they had to wait close to seven decades before they received direct train connectivity to the capital of the country they helped liberate. In a ceremony at Assam’s Silchar railway station, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the Silchar-New Delhi Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express. The train will connect the capital to Silchar in the Cachar district of southern Assam that also borders Bangladesh. Suresh Prabhu also declared that by 2020, capitals of all the northeast Indian states will have direct rail connectivity with the capital. Also Read - Lockdown 4.0: Noida's Biggest Commercial Hub, Sector 18, to Open Shops From Thursday

The Silchar-New Delhi Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express will be a weekly train that will run on the broad guage railway line. At the inauguration, Suresh Prabhu also said that he also plans to bring in Manipur apart from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura in the broad gauge railway circuit between 2017 and 2019.

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He also planned to connect Aizawl in Mizoram in the same period. Launching of a direct railway line is bound to increase tourism in the state and indeed the region but the timing of the launch couldn’t be better timed. Southern Assam is a key area for the BJP in the upcoming Assam assembly elections that are due this year.

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Unsurprisingly, two broad gauge freight trains were also flagged at the same time — one will connect Badarpur in Southern Assam to Jirania in Tripura and the other will connect Jiribam in Manipur to Badarpur. In yet another announcement Silchar-Agartala inter-city express and Silchar-Guwahati and Silchar-Tinsukia passenger trains will start chugging in April before Silchar receives direct trains to Mumbai and Chennai.