Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday inspected the proposed rail link through the Sivok-Rangpo line, which will connect the state of Sikkim with the rest of the country.
A press release stated that Vaishnaw inspected the junction arrangements at Sivok and instructed officials to make it a gateway to Sikkim.
As of now, Sikkim is connected only by road (NH 31A) which passes through very steep slopes and frequent disruptions during monsoons.
Increased traffic demand puts tremendous pressure on the road making it more vulnerable to damage and the journey more stressful.
The rail connectivity is expected to provide a reliable and comfortable transportation infrastructure.
The project is considered of strategic importance with future connectivity to Gangtok and thereafter to Indo-China Border (i.e. upto Nathula Pass) and a vital role in meeting the Defence requirements, the release stated.
As per the release, the total length of the project is 4.98 km (Sikkim: 3.43 Km, West Bengal: 41.6 Km), with a sanctioned cost of Rs 4086 crore.
A total of 14 tunnels, 21 bridges and five stations are expected to be a part of this project.
Regarding the project, wildlife clearance (Mahananda Wildlife) and forest clearance have been obtained. Contracts for 14 tunnels, 13 major bridges and four yards have been awarded. Also, the construction work of yards at Sivok, Riyang, Melli and Rangpo is in progress, the release stated. (ANI)