Siliguri (WB): The railway link between West Bengal and Sikkim, which is expected to be completed by 2023, will spur socio-economic development in the Himalayan state, Minister of State for Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve said on Monday.

He inspected tunneling work at Sevoke and spoke with railway officials.

“The Centre is targeting to complete the railway line between Sevoke in West Bengal and Rangpo in Sikkim by 2023. It will spur socio-economic development in the Himalayan state. The rail connectivity will make transportation of goods easier,” the minister later told reporters.

The 52-km-long rail line, which will have six stations, was initially scheduled to be completed by 2015 but faced challenges due to difficult terrain and land-related hiccups, which caused a delay in the project.

Construction of the rail line started in 2009 when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the railway minister.

The estimated cost of the project has also increased from Rs 1,300 crore to over Rs 5,000 crore.

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) General Manager Anshul Gupta had met Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang last week and discussed the ongoing project.

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