BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 1 SEPTEMBER 2022
Chief Minister of Nagaland, Mr. Neiphiu Rio while flagging off the first passenger train service with the introduction of the new Donyi Polo Express has also inaugurated the second railway station of the state in Shokhuvi , after a histaus of 119 years.
The Donyi Polo Express will run daily between Guwahati in Assam and Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh. The first railway station in Dagaland was inaugurated in 1903 at Dimapur.
Shokhuvi Railway station is part of the Dimapur-Zubza Railway project. The railway station is an alternative train route for Nagaland and Manipur passengers to Guwahati.
Dimapur Railway Station is the heart of the commercial hub of Nagaland. Mr. Neiphiu Rio was present at the Shokhuvi Railway station along with top railway officials on the historic railway station which has been commissioned recently.
With the running of this new express train, Nagaland has now become directly connected with its neighbouring North Eastern State of Arunachal Pradesh.
“This is a historic day for Nagaland, as the state got the 2nd railway terminal passenger services after a gap of more than 100 years on Dhansari-Shokhuvi Railway line,” says Chief Minister,” Mr. Neiphiu Rio.
Mr. Neiphiu Rio has lauded the commitment of the Railway Ministry and officials to the railway line to Kohima. He added that the Railways is going to extend the services to Zubza to new Kohima and onward to Imphal.
“It is fulfilling the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Look East Policy, adding that we will not only connect with mainland India but also South East Asia which will bring economic benefits and improve connectivity. The Molvon station at Jornapani is expected to be completed by next March or April and Phase 2 – Pherima and Phase 3 Zubza which are expected to be completed by 2023 and 2026 respectively,” the Nagaland CM added.
Mr. Neiphiu Rio also said that he is hopeful that the Railway line from Dimapur to Tizit and Dimapur to Khelma in Silchar which is already being approved by the union government will be implemented soon.
“ It is a proud moment for the Indian Railways and NFR which is working to connect all the capitals of the northeastern states with railways in a time-bound manner,” said Mr. Anshul Gupta, General Manager of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) .
The foundation stone for the 90-km-long broad gauge route from Dhansiri in Assam to Zubza in the Kohima district of Nagaland was laid in 2016, and work is underway. The deadline was extended from 2020 to 2024.
The NFR General manager, Mr. Anshul Gupta said that the said line will be extended to Aizawl via New Kohima and Imphal and a proposal to undertake survey from Zubza-New Kohima-Imphal and Aizawl have already initiated so that all three states get connected in a loop.
“Besides the Donyi Polo Express, Indian Railways has plans to introduce new trains including Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express and in future long-distance trains from the state of Nagaland. Already the Shukhovi station has been running freight services by taking stones from Nagaland to various parts of the country and Bangladesh for the past two months,” adds Mr. Anshul Gupta.
The functioning of the new railway station on the Dhanasari – Sokhuvo Railway line after almost 100 years and connectivity with other states, with more rail links available through future projects is set to boost the travel and tourism sector of Nagaland in the coming days.
From Shokhuvi, the train will depart daily at 5:45 pm to reach Naharlagun, the next day at 6:45 am. Likewise, the train will depart from Naharlagun daily at 7:50 pm to reach Shokhuvi the next day at 9:30 am. Information on Indian Railways ticket booking portal informed that the distance between the two stations is 579 kms and the duration of journey is around 13 hours from Shokhuvi and 13:40 hours from Naharlagun.
There are stoppages at 20 major stations during the journey including Diphu, Lumding Jn, Guwahati, Kamakhya, Rangiya Jn, Viswanath Charali, Harmuti in Assam and Gumto in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Donyi Polo Express comprises Second class sitting , Sleeper, AC 3 Tier, AC 2 Tier and AC First Class coaches.