Sikkim, the only Indian state without access to railways, is all set to undergo a connectivity revolution. As per news agency ANI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the state’s first railway station on Monday 26 February.

Rangpo station holds significance from both a tourism and defense perspective for Sikkim and India according to Deputy Railway Manager of Alipurduar, Amarjeet Agrawal as reported by the news agency.

“Basically, Sikkim did not have a railway line earlier. The government has signed this project in three phases,” the official was quoted as saying. The project is planned in three phases: the first phase covers Sevoke to Rangpo, the second phase extends from Rangpo to Gangtok, and the third phase connects Gangtok to Nathula.

Sikkim joined the Indian union on 16 May 1975 as the country’s 22nd state and the erstwhile kingdom’s monarchy was abolished.

The Sikkim railway station is part of the Sivok-Rangpo railway project, which was initiated in October 2009. The railway line’s projected length is almost 45km, spanning from West Bengal’s Sivok to Sikkim’s Rangpo.

The line will consist of five stations in total, with one located in Teesta Bazar, potentially making it India’s first underground halt station. The line will have four open crossing stations.

“In the Indian Railway, especially in broad gauge, this is the first underground railway station. This station is very relevant, because Teesta bazar connects Darjeeling to Gangtok so it could be convenient for the passengers who want to go to Darjeeling or Gangtok,” he was quoted as saying by media reports.

As per the project director Mohinder Singh, out of the total 45 km, three and a half km falls within Sikkim state, while 41.5 km is within West Bengal.

The 45 km-long route primarily comprises tunnels, along with bridges and open cutting/filling of station yards. Of the total 44.96 km length, 38.65 km (86 per cent) comprises tunnels while 2.24 km (5 per cent) comprises bridges.

MTNews Desk

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