The Sevoke-Sikkim Railway Project, which aims to establish a rail connection between Sevoke in West Bengal and Sikkim, has experienced a significant increase in its cost. Initially estimated at Rs 1340 crore when the foundation stone was laid in October 2009, the project’s cost has now risen to over Rs 12,500 crore, according to Mr. B.K. Gupta, the Railway Board Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Ircon International, during his visit to the Sevoke-Rangpo BG rail line project.
The completion of this railway line will put the Himalayan state of Sikkim on the railway map of the country. As a national project, it holds great importance for the overall development of the state.
Once finished, it is expected to enhance connectivity for Sikkim, a landlocked state of strategic significance bordering China, Nepal, and Bhutan. The current road conditions between Siliguri and Sikkim are not favorable, making the railway service a crucial factor in improving transportation between these two regions.
Moreover, the introduction of train services will benefit both local and foreign tourists. It will eliminate instances of fraud and scams that have been reported by visitors arriving at Siliguri, NJP, or Bagdogra. Tourists will be able to travel directly to Sikkim via the train service, reducing travel time significantly.
The journey from Siliguri to Rangpo, for instance, will take just one hour by train. Additionally, the rail connection will establish a reliable and affordable transportation infrastructure for the region.
Efforts are being made to expedite the project, with the aim of completing it by December 2024. Chairman Mr. Gupta has expressed confidence in meeting this deadline. Furthermore, the central government plans to extend the railway line to Nathula, the India-China border.
The survey for the Rangpo to Gangtok section is in its final stages, and preparations for its commencement are underway. Likewise, survey work has commenced for the railway project from Gangtok to Nathula, indicating progress in expanding the rail network in the region.
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