NEW DELHI: There is a good news for those who are charmed by the northeast and want to explore its rich wildlife: The Ministry of Railways is working on a proposal to roll out a ‘Kaziranga Express’ for Assam.
Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, who is an MP from Assam, mooted the proposal for a ‘Kaziranga Express’ on the lines of ‘Tiger Express’ which was launched in June this year for Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks in Madhya Pradesh, a Ministry official said.
The Kaziranga National Park is a World Heritage Site and is known to host 70 per cent of the world’s onehorned rhinoceroses. It is also home to a large number of tigers, elephants, wild water buffaloes and swamp deer.
Anurag Singh, MD, Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC), said, “At present, the project is at a very nascent stage. We are working on an itinerary. We need to work on a model which we can sustain for a long time. Our report is likely to be finalised within this month.”
Besides Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamakhya temple, Manas National Park and tea gardens of Assam, a road trip to Shillong could be part of the itinerary, according to IRCTC, which will work along with ATDC to finalise the plan.
Tourists will be offered a complete package, which will include rail journey, food, hotel, local commute, jungle safari, among others. Like the ‘Tiger Express’ launched on World Environment Day, this train, too, will have semiluxury coaches and a dining car. ATDC’s focus on a “sustainable model” is significant in the context of poor occupancy seen by ‘Tiger Express’ earlier this year, which had to ply with a little over 20 passengers, resulting in huge financial losses.
A dedicated train for northeast is in line with Prime Minister’s promise of reducing isolation of northeastern states through its proactive ‘Act East Policy’.
Soon after taking charge as MoS, Gohain had told PTI, “I am from the northeast. These states are hilly region. So, ensuring rail connectivity is a difficult task, but our government has promised to provide rail connectivity to all north-eastern states by 2020 and we will work towards the goal.”