The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has ambitious plans to promote water transport, tourism and protection of environment in the mountainous northeastern region, an official said on Thursday.
NFR General Manager Anshul Gupta said the NFR has recently signed an MoU with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to provide a multi-modal logistic solution to transporters and to effectively utilise railway and waterway infrastructure for faster economic development of the northeast.
“This will also promote cruise trips in this part of India,” he said, addressing the media virtually from NFR headquarters in Maligaon, near Guwahati.
Gupta also said that to promote tourism in the picturesque northeastern region, several new initiatives have been undertaken, including a floating riverside restaurant near Bogibeel bridge in Guwahati to promote eco-tourism while Vistadome railway coaches planned in trains running though hill districts of Assam and Dooars areas of north Bengal.
With glass roofs and luxurious seats, which rotate 360 degrees, Vistadome coaches would facilitate the passengers enjoy the picturesque nature that passes by them – greenery, thick forests, falls and hills — along the railway lines.
Gupta said that for the protection of the environment, a MoU was signed between NFR and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling on April 13.
“This is an initiative by the NFR towards environment protection at base camp of mountaineering at higher altitude and in turn, assistance by the HMI to the NFR in preservation and curation of heritage assets of DHR in museums at Ghoom, Kurseong and Sukhna, training of railway employees in mountaineering, rescue operations in hilly terrains and associating railway men to mountaineering expeditions,” he said.
The NFR General Manager said that despite of Covid related restrictions, about 50 per cent passenger train services have been restored.
“At present, the NFR is running 78 specials trains and 35 local passenger trains per day for the persons who are in urgent need for travel,” he said.
The NFR, one among the 17 railway zones in India, operates fully and partially in six of the eight northeastern states, excluding Meghalaya and Sikkim, as well as seven districts of West Bengal and five districts of north Bihar.