The railways have a plan to introduce a Rajdhani Express to Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar but the proposal has met with opposition from the locals who had successfully resisted a train service with Assam five months ago.
As per the budget announcement, the railways is planning to connect New Delhi with Naharlagun, 15 km away from Itanagar, with a bi-weekly Rajdhani Express within this year after the necessary railway infrastructure is in place.
However, powerful All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) has opposed the plan maintaining that no traveller will be allowed to enter the state without the mandatory Inner Line Permit (ILP) which a non-Arunachali has to obtain from the state government before visiting the state.
"We are ready to run the train. The tracks are ready, stations are ready, the whole system is ready. The problem is of Inner Line Permit. Once the issue is resolved, we will run the train," General Manager of the North East Frontier Railway Ranjit Singh Virdi told PTI over phone from Guwahati.
A senior Railway Ministry official said in New Delhi that efforts are on to resolve the ILP issue with the state government.
Railways are hopeful of resolving the ILP issue and a train like Rajdhani is likely to be launched this year.
"We will not allow anyone to enter Arunachal Pradesh unless he or she carries ILP. If we allow, the state will be flooded with influx which we cannot allow," President of AAPSU Kamta Lapung told PTI over phone from Itanagar.
Lapung also made it clear that the proposal to allow passenger with a confirmed railway ticket to enter Arunachal Pradesh instead of the ILP will not be acceptable to the students organisation.
"We will oppose 100 per cent if one says that a train ticket will allow a person's entry," he said.
Threat from AAPSU had led to the suspension of Naharlagun-Kamkhya (Guwahati) Express train since April 2014 after running for just two weeks.