Gangtok, 11 April : A most awaited moment for the cornered tiny Himalayan state Sikkim was graced today after assurance from GTA Chairman Binay Tamang last month to bring good coordination between Hill and Sikkim. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has finally issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to Sikkim’s first railway line, the Sevoke- Rangpo railway project. In a press statement, Chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang said they have fulfilled their promise and have given the NOC for the rail line.
“GTA principal secretary Subrata Biswas has written to the Darjeeling District Magistrate, Joyoshi Das Gupta, regarding this matter on Tuesday,” Mr Tamang said.
It may be mentioned here that GTA officials had met several railway officials in Darjeeling on 4 April and had come to a mutual understanding regarding the project, with the Railways agreeing to the various demands put forward by the GTA.
“The NOC was given as per the recent meeting with railway officials, as our demands were met and also for the benefit of the northeast region, along with Darjeeling and Sikkim. Railway officials had in the meeting maintained that the rail lines will reach Rangpo in Sikkim by 2022,” the release said.
“As soon as the rail lines start functioning in the GTA area, rail services for different places like Delhi and Guwahati and other places can be started from here,” Mr Tamang said.
The release further stated that the Railways has agreed to their demands like four railway stations in the GTA area, while no explosives will be used for digging tunnels for the project, 80 percent of which will be underground.
Mr Tamang further said that the total distance between Sevoke and Rangpo will be 44.98 km, and that 90 percent of the train tracks will be laid in the GTA area, which is about 41.54 km. Sikkim side will have a mere 3.44 km of the tracks.
The press release said that there will be 14 tunnels along the route that will be 38.64 km in total. “No forest village will be affected by the construction of the project, and the Railways department has given this to us in writing,” said the press release.