2016 will go down into the annals of Mizoram history as the year broadgauge freight train entered the hilly State for the first time. The train, comprising 42 wagons loaded with foodgrain, was received at 1 pm at Bairabi station in northern Mizoram by State’s Transport, Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister John Rotluangliana and State Government and NF Railway officials.
With this, Mizoram was dotted in the Indian railway map. The broadgauge rail tracks will further link from Bairabi to Sairang, about 20 kms west of Aizawl. On November 11, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabu laid a foundation stone for Sairang railway station.
The 50.38 km broadgauge line from Bairabi in Kolasib district to Sairang is part of the railways’ project to connect the capitals of the Northeastern States by 2020. “The new rail link is slated for completion in 2019-20. It will boost trade as well as create potential for domestic and overseas marketing,” NF Railway CPRO Pranav Sharma said.
On December 3, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Mizoram Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which seeks to provide a range of hospitality and tourism services to tourists visiting the State. The agreement, signed at Aizawl, is aimed at boosting tourism activities in Mizoram which is endowed with unexplored scenic beauty. IRCTC will project and promote the tourism destinations of Mizoram while the State’s Tourism Department will provide quality tourism services to the tourists.
Prabhu said owing to its strategic location and importance of Mizoram in India’s trade with SE Asian countries improving connectivity to Mizoram is critical. He said that the Indian Railways would not only be an engine for growth but also a catalyst for social transformation and economic empowerment for the NE region.