|Railways’ jumbo gift to N Bengal: Rs 300 crore for doubling of tracks
TIMES OF INDIA
Jul 10, 2014
KOLKATA: There is finally
some good news for wildlife enthusiasts in the forests of North Bengal.
The ministry of railways has allotted Rs 300 crore towards doubling of
tracks in the New Jalpaiguri-New Cooch Behar-Samuktala Road route in
the 2014-15 railway budget tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
the tracks are doubled, more trains can be diverted from the New
Jalpaiguri-Bagdogra-New Mal Jn-Nagrakata-Hasimara-Alipurduar Junction
route that runs through the forests of North Bengal and accounts for
the largest number of elephant deaths in the country. As many as 20
pachyderms died in this stretch due to collision with trains since
2013, forest department officials said. The last incident was reported
on July 1 when a special military train slammed into two jumbos — a
mother and a calf — between Hasimara and Hamiltongunj, killing them on
the spot. Official records reveal that between 2004 and 2013, as many
as 44 elephants were killed by trains in the forests of the Dooars.
is very encouraging. The government has sanctioned Rs 160 crore for the
36.52 km Ambari Falakata-New Moynaguri stretch. In addition, Rs 140
crore has been sanctioned for the 29.02 km New Cooch Behar-Samuktala
Road stretch. Now, the projects will be reviewed and timeframes set.
Work can now start in earnest," said Sugato Lahiri, CPRO, Northeast
Frontier Railway (NFR). With these sanctions, the ministry of railways
has cleared the bulk of the estimated cost for doubling of the stretch.
Now, a mere Rs 107.55 crore is pending of the Rs 529.89 crore that the
project is estimated to cost. "This was a long pending demand. After
doubling is completed, trains can be diverted and elephant deaths can
be checked," said chief wildlife warden Ujjal Bhattacharya. Siliguri or
New Jalpaiguri is connected to Alipurduar through two railway routes.
One of these is the 168km link that passes through Bagdogra, New Mal
Jn, Nagrakata and Hasimara.