Naharlagun: In a major boost to rail connectivity of Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Sunday flagged off the inaugural service of Naharlagun to Tinsukia Vistadome Express from the railway station here.

Union Minister of State for (MoS) Railways Darshana Jardosh and Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma joined the ceremony virtually from Guwahati.

To add to the momentous occasion, another train -the Vistadome attached Naharlagun-Guwahati Shatabdi Express- was flagged off by the MoS from Guwahati.

The Naharlagun-Tinsukia Vistadome Express will run five days a week except Tuesdays and Fridays from Naharlagun and except Mondays and Thursdays from Tinsukia. Regular service of the express will commence from December 21.

On the other hand, the Shatabdi Special with Vistadome coach will start its regular service with effect from December 20 from Naharlagun. The express train will consist of four AC chair coaches, one Vistadome coach and two luggage vans. It will leave Naharlagun every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Likewise, it will leave for Naharlagun from Guwahati every Monday, Thursday and Sunday.

Vistadome is a state-of-the-art coach designed to provide passengers with travel comfort and an enhanced viewing experience of their surroundings. The features include wide transparent window panes and glass rooftop, rotatable seats at 180 degrees and pushback chairs.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Khandu expressed gratitude to the central government, especially the railway ministry for introducing Vistadome services for Arunachal Pradesh. He said the northeast region of India is already a hot destination for tourists from across the country and the world.

“Now these state-of-art vistadome coaches will add to the attraction and tourist footfall will increase, which in turn will boost the economy of the state,” Khandu observed.

He informed the MoS that ongoing surveys are in various stages on several new routes connecting Arunachal, which are Murkongselek to Pasighat that will go on to Tezu-Rupai-Lekhapani connecting Marherita and Deomali, the strategic Misamari to Tawang and the one connecting North Lakhimpur with Silapathar up to Bame.

“Once these routes are complete and made functional, Arunachal Pradesh will witness a sea change in terms of transportation,” Khandu said.

He informed that agri-horti farmers of the state are not in a position to produce in surplus due to lack of markets, which is a direct offshoot of transportation bottleneck. He expressed hope that once railway connectivity reaches the interiors of the state, the rural economy will boom.

Taking the moment of the presence of the MoS as well as top officials of the Ministry, Khandu requested for conversion of the existing Naharlagun-New Delhi train service to Rajdhani Express. “This the demand of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, not singularly mine,” he said.

Khandu also requested the railways to expedite construction of the Borum Bridge that will connect Borum with Naharlagun. He reasoned that soon the 4-Lane road construction will begin in Naharlagun and Nirjuli and the said bridge will greatly help ease traffic congestion during that period.

Among others present during the flagging off ceremony were Itanagar legislator Techi Kaso and Itanagar mayor Tame Phassang.

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