Shillong: The first railway station in Meghalaya at Mendipathar in the North Garo Hills would be inaugurated soon, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said today.
Stating that there was a lot of support for the first railway station from local people, NGOs and social organisations in the Garo Hills, Sangma told the Assembly that this was needed in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills for implementing a similar long pending central project.
Sangma, who holds the finance portfolio, emphasised on the need for the railways as it was a cheaper mode of transport in the land-locked state and would make essential commodities affordable to the people.
He said that introduction of railways would give a boost to tourism and expressed optimism that the rail network would be extended up to Byrnihat and state capital Shillong.
Allaying the fear of possible influx and immigration with the introduction of railways, he said that a directorate of infiltration already existed to deal with the problem.
He said the new 361-km National Highway-127 was notified and its alignment connecting Asanang, Williamnagar, Phulbari, Tura and Nongstoin approved, for which Rs 479 crore was earmarked.
He also spelt out his government`s commitment to expand the Umroi and Baljek Airports in a time-bound manner.
Stressing on the revival of the dysfunctional river routes to neighbouring Bangladesh for trade, Sangma said Meghalaya could be a trade corridor for the Northeast to Bangladesh.