Slump hits railway line works along LAC
By Ritu Sharma|ENS - NEW DELHI
25th June 2012 09:36 AM
The economic downturn has hit the development of infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with the Ministry of Finance expressing its inability to spare the `80,000 crore needed to construct six strategic railway lines in the regions bordering China. These lines are ‘commercially non-viable’ for the Railway Ministry as well as the Finance Ministry.
China, on the other hand, has laid down 10,000 km of railway line network in the adjacent Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
The Army had proposed construction of 14 strategic lines in Ladakh and northeastern regions of the country. Six of these lines have been accorded top priority by the Ministry of Defence. “Six of these lines in the mountainous terrain will entail expenditure of `80,000 crore. The Ministry of Railways has expressed its inability to spare that kind of cash for these links. The Ministry of Finance has also said it could not spare this much amount at the moment,” sources said, adding the economic slowdown had made the Finance Ministry postpone its commitment to border area rail network.
The delay in moving forward on these construction projects could cause India dear as China is moving at a feverish pace on this front. The infrastructure development in the TAR region along the 4,057-km Indo-Chinese border has given the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) the capability to move around 4,50,000 soldiers to the border within 30 days, or three Chinese soldiers for one Indian soldier.
The proposed Indian railway lines are aimed at all-weather quick troop mobilisation and logistics sustenance if the rivalry around the unresolved India-China border erupts into hostilities. The Army’s last hopes are now pinned on the Planning Commission.
Most of these projects are located in the northeast, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Some of the key railway projects in northeast are Missamari (Assam) to Tawang (Arunachal), North Lakhimpur (Assam) to Along (Arunachal) and Murkongselek (Assam) to Pasighat (Arunachal). In the north, the key projects are Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch, Rishikesh-Karanprayag and Tanakpur-Bageshwar (Uttarakhand).
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