Shillong, June, 19, 2017: Stating that the people will be greatly benefited if railway comes up to Shillong, Union Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain says that the proposed railway project in Meghalaya requires both the support of the state government and the people.
“We are keen to bring railway up to Shillong. But for that we need support from the Government and the public. If there is no support from the State Government and the public, it will be extremely difficult to bring the railways to Meghalaya. Due to repeated obstructions to the construction work, it will not be possible for railway to come or reach Shillong. We need their co-operation and support then only it will be possible for railway,” Gohain said while speaking to media persons at Shillong here on Monday.
On a query about scrapping the project due to opposition, he said that the Centre would definitely want to go ahead with the construction of railway project.
When asked, whether it is right to scrap the project with the people opposing the project?, Gohain said, “We are trying to convince people and ensure that it will not harm but rather help the Meghalaya people. They will get a direct link from here to the entire country. It will be more beneficial for the Meghalaya people once rail line comes to Shillong; since, they can travel by rail to any party of India.”
Gohain further said that the coming of the railways will help to increase the inflow of tourists adding that with tourism being a huge industry, it would also definitely help to generate employment to the local people here.
“Tourism is going to develope in a big way. Now everyone knows about Shillong. But the poor people middle class cannot come to this part of the country via air and so they would prefer to travel by train. If Meghalaya is connected with railway, then definitely people will get the opportunity to visit Meghalaya and Shillong,” he said.
When asked if truckers’ lobby behind the opposition, Gohain said there are possibilities that the truckers association may be behind to instigate the opposition to this project.
On holding talks with NGOs who are opposing the project, he said that his officials will definitely talk with the groups who are against the project.
The Union Minister of State for Railways said that the officers of the department on numerous occasions in the past had held discussion with officials of the Meghalaya Government to deliberate on the project.
Replying to the observation that the scenic beauty would be damaged if a railway is introduced, Gohain said that this is totally misleading since the railway connectivity has not affected the scenic in Switzerland.
“The Scenic beauty will not be damaged. Railway will give additional support and it will add to the scenic beauty. Go and see Darjeeling can anyone say its scenic beauty is destroyed,” he said
When asked that Railway is dirty with rats and cockroaches, Gohain said that the Government is taking steps to ensure that cleanliness in the railway station is maintained adding that railways are changing very fast everywhere in the country.