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Railway The limping Iron Horse

-Sumar Singh

Railway is known to the American Red Indians as the ‘Iron Horse’, galloping away across the vast prairie and canyons. In the Ri Hynniewtrep of the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, successive Governments of the state have welcomed the iron horse to reach upto Byrnihat near the border with Assam. However, several impediments have come along the way, specially the acquisition of land which has become a chronic problem. It is believed that the Byrnihat rail would speed up travelling especially in the transportation of goods, like essential commodities that would benefit at large the consumers, specially the poor sections. Surveys have been made time and again, but the work is never completed.

 

Once upon a time more than one hundred years ago, the first attempt for rail connection was made south of the border from the plain areas of Khasi Hills from the trade centres of Pandua and Chhatak, now in Bangladesh, cutting across Hima Sohra right upto the capital, Sohra where one of the biggest market is located, that is Iewbah. Even today theChief Minister Mukul Sangma has mooted the idea of connecting Sohra by rail road. According to him, it would be the most sought after train ride especially for visitors and tourists, besides it would be a romantic ride for couples coming for honeymoon in the midst of natural beauty. The state government has therefore asked the Northeast Frontier Railway to connect Sohra by rail in the interest of tourism and also organic products grown in the area can be transported so that farming can get remunerative.