Sikkim will come up on the country’s railway map with Vice President Hamid Ansari today laying the foundation stone of a 52.7km broad gauge rail link between Rangpo in the hill state and Sevoke in Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
“People of Sikkim had a dream and the process of fulfilling it just started today. It is a difficult project considering that the terrain through which the line will go is difficult,” Mr. Ansari said.
He expressed confidence that the Indian Railways, which is one of the most efficient railways in the world and has proved its mettle by constructing the Konkan and Kashmir rail link, will do it.
The line, which would be later extended upto Gangtok, capital of Sikkim, would be an engineering achievement for the railway, he said.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said it was a landmark for India and also for Sikkim which has no railway link till now.
“If we can do it in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Uttarakhand, we can do it in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan too,” she said.
The contract for the project estimated to be built at Rs 1,400 crore has already been given to state-owned IRCON.
The line will be completed in five years following which the extension to Gangtok will be taken up.