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October 30, 2009

Vice-President lays foundation stone of first-ever railway line in Sikkim

     Gangtok: Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Friday laid the foundation stone of the first-ever railway line (Rangpo-Sivok railway line) to Sikkim at Rangpo. The new broad gauge railway line is between Sikkim's small township of Rangpo and West Bengal's border town of Sivok . "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," Ansari said. Expressing confidence that the Indian Railways will do it, he said that the line would be an engineering achievement for the railway. Terming it a landmark for India and Sikkim, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was also present on the ocassion, 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 added. This 52.7 km long new broad guauge Rangpo-Sivok line will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 1339.48 crore and has been declared as a 'National Project' for which 75 per cent of the fund would be provided by Ministry of Railways through their gross budgetary support and balance 25 per cent as an additionality by the Ministry of Finance. The survey for further extension of this line from Rangpo upto Sikkim's capital Gangtok (69 km) has also been completed recently and survey report is under examination in the Ministry of Railways.
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