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Jan Shatabdi Express trains join Tripura and Manipur, to spur development in north-east India

Railways to bring about development in India's north-east (Photo: IANS)

Union ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and G Kishan Reddy launched the Jan Shatabdi Express between Tripura and Manipur through video link. The special trains connecting Agartala and Jiribam railway stations were flagged off simultaneously.

The two union ministers were joined by Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

The Tripura-Manipur rail link is part of 14 new railway projects that seek to connect India’s strategic north-eastern region. The cost of these connectivity projects is estimated at around Rs 56,553 crore.

The first Jan Shatabdi express train from Agartala to Jiribam will go via Silchar in Assam. It will interlink historic towns like Silchar, Badarpur, New Karimganj, Dharmanagar and Ambassa improving connectivity in the region and fostering people-to-people linkages. The rail link will minimize the travel time by half as it will cover the 300 km distance in around six hours against the 12 hours it currently takes by road.

Union Minister for the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G Kishan Reddy said that the special trains will provide a major boost to passenger connectivity, trade and tourism. He said that with the unprecedented development initiatives and infrastructural growth, India’s north-east will become an engine of growth for the rest of India.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working to develop the connectivity of the north-east region and the country.

Highlighting historical relations between Tripura and Manipur, Tripura Chief minister Deb said that the two states share both cultural and matrimonial relations as three of Tripura’s queens were from Manipur.

Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh also stressed on the common linkages. He said, “Tripura and Manipur have relations since the royal period. The railway line, not only connected Tripura and Manipur, but also the entire northeast region.”

The new rail link will give an impetus to trade, tourism and transportation in the three states.

Reddy said that road and highway projects worth Rs 85,631 crore are ongoing in the eight north-east states and another Rs 80,000-crore worth of projects are planned over the next two years. He emphasised on the fact that railway projects are laying the groundwork for further development of the region.

The DoNER minister added that the strategic Agartala-Akhaura project being developed at a cost of approximately Rs 972.50 crore will link India to Bangladesh, boosting the economic profile of the region.