India has excluded Assam and Manipur, two of its troublesome northeastern states, from the 17,500-km long Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network. It has proposed a Bangladesh-Myanmar railway link via Tripura and Mizoram instead, according to Times of India.
Indian policy makers now want to bypass the areas in Assam and Manipur. According to the new proposal, Dhaka should be connected to Jawahar Nagar in north Tripura, which is south of Mahisasan from where new lines will be laid to proceed towards Sairang in Mizoram from where it would be connected to an existing line at Ka Lay in Myanmar.
“The UNESCAP plan is not final and there is room for modification. For a hassle-free rail communication without bandhs and violence, Tripura and Mizoram are better choices than Assam and Manipur. We plan to have Assam and Manipur connected to the network by trunk routes and trouble in these two states will not hamper traffic on the main TAR network,” a source said.
A construction official of the Northeast Frontier Railways said, “As of now, we are going ahead with the original Trans Asian Railway plan. A survey for connecting Imphal with Tamu is on, but it is frequently hit by trouble in Manipur. Though not final, an alternative route of 257 km from north Tripura’s Jawahar Nagar railway station to Kolashib in northern Mizoram and Myanmar’s Darlon via Sairang has been proposed to connect with this mega network.”
Why are we discussing this? Because, optical fiber along the railway track further strengthens our proposed Asian Information Superhighway initiative with UNESCAP. Fiber along the power transmission grid also offers more resilience to the Asian Information Superhighway. Asia cannot afford to ignore any segment of infrastructure to make broadband affordable across the continent.