The first Janshatabdi Express train connecting three Northeast states – Assam, Manipur and Tripura – was flagged off by railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on January 8.
Speaking on the occasion, Union DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) minister G Kishan Reddy said that the much-awaited train service would provide major boost to trade and tourism in the Northeast region.
The Janshatabdi tri-weekly service would connect some important towns like Silchar, Badarpur, New Karimganj (all in Assam), Dharmanagar and Ambassa (in Tripura) apart from Jiribam (Manipur) and Agartala (Tripura) – the two terminal stations.
According to the chief public relations officer of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), Guneet Kaur, the train journey shall cut the travel time by half as the journey time will be around six hours covering a distance of 300 km against about 12 hours travel by road.
Reddy expressed his gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the vision to work with the ‘HIRA’ model (Highway, Internet, Railways and Airways) for the development of the Northeast states.
Railway minister Vaishnaw said that this train would be a link connecting the culture of Northeast states.
The proposed Imphal-Moreh (along India-Myanmar border) rail section would be a very strategic line, due to which the relationship between India and other Southeast Asian countries would be very important, he said, adding that efforts would be made to expedite the work of the Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) rail project.
The flag-off ceremony took place in virtual mode between the railway board in Delhi, the chief minister’s office in Imphal, and the railway stations in Jiribam and Agartala.
Besides Vaishnaw and Reddy, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, his Manipur counterpart N Biren Singh, central ministers Pratima Bhowmik and Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, and railway board chairperson and CEO VK Tripathi were, among others, present in different locations during the inaugural ceremony.