Northeast Frontier Railway- A challenge and an Opportunity

9 IRSE probationers were asked to go NFR for construction training. I was one of them.As the duration of training nears completion, its time to look back.

Most of us are concerned about our place of posting after joining the services.Since engineering services is a central service,you have an all-India liability to work in any part of country.An aspirants who prepares for this exam thinks only about positive aspects but there are some difficulties as well. Life is not a bed of roses even after clearing this exam. The more responsibilities you take , more will be challenges. Those who willingly want to work in Noth-east are still in minority whether in Railway or CPWD.In this regard ,i am giving you a glimpse of working in North-East Frontier railway from my point of view.

An opportunity
An average Indian is ignorant about N-E until  he prepares for some competitive examination. Only few of you can recall all the states of N-E along with their capital. If you think that capital of Assam is Guwahati then you need to improve you general awareness. This forces us to do some introspection that why N-E has not been fully integrated in our minds although it is an integral part of India an any other state.The reasons for this can broadly be put into geographical and historical context.
Due to historical reasons, North-east has virtually been cut-off from rest of India. Even though Bangladesh is more friendlier than Erstwhile East Pakistan the prospect of international corridor through it has still not been finalized. At the ‘neck’ the width is strip of Indian territory is just 40km. All the rail and road traffic going to north-east is diverted through this strip only. If this strip is somehow blocked, then whole of North-east is out of bounds. The only mode of communication left would be air transport.As large scale movements of goods and people can’t take place without the surface transport ,the N-E would be left on its own fate. However, even if that situation is very improbable, the significance of surface transport can’t be denied in integration of a country.

After you enter Assam,all the work is still ahead of you. How to connect even the remotest part of N-E via road and surface transport. Geographic features of N-E are uneven , hills interspersed with plains. The mighty Brahmaputra presents no less challenge, where all engineering is put to test. Britishers built bridges everywhere, except on Brahmaputra. As you are well aware that  Arunachal lies north of this river, the necessity of rail and road link to Arunachal becomes even more pertinent. Geopolitics of China with respect to Arunachal has put stakes very high for infrastructure projects. Actually, Indian Government have been jolted out of their slumber by the recent advances made by China in Tibet. China has completed its rail project along border areas even in worse conditions than ours.  The Chinese have completed projects in a time-bound manner, Indian ones have gone off-track once too frequently. At Dibrugarh, a rail cum road bridge is being constructed over brahmaputra to connect Arunachal Pradesh with Assam. This is strategic location for national security and development of Arunachal. The picture below speaks for itself, once completed we will be able to roll tanks on the bridge. This bridge is completely welded, first of its kind in India.

Rail cum Road Bridge,Bogibeel,Dibrugarh
Rail cum Road Bridge in Background,Bogibeel,Dibrugarh

Incredible India campaign about N-E says ‘Beauty unexplored’ but how would you do so if there are no proper connectivity links. Narendra Modi , in his election rallies promised a new beginning for N-E people and the result is showing. All construction project of railways have been given the status of ‘National Projects’ means that there will be no fund crunch. All this was due for a long time , N-E can’t be ignored for more. Railway engineers have been given deadline for completing long standing projects. All the officials are working overtime to conform to deadline. PM is himself in touch with GM of NFR. Railways officials will be held accountable if project is not completed on time right from top. Railway follows strict hierarchy in its workings,accountability can go upto railway board.

A Challenge

Now let’s us discuss how it’s like working in NFR. Before this have a look at pic below.

Amit Jaiswal, IRSE 2011 Batch,
Amit Jaiswal, IRSE 2011 Batch,

He is our senior working as Assistant Executive Engineer in Bhairabi-Sairang Project. Earlier the MG line existed upto Bhairabi(Mizoram) but now a new BG line is to be constructed upto Sarang. He was earlier working as AEN,Asansol but has been posted for 2 years to NFR. Although he works in a condition not very congenial for construction activities, yet he his fully dedicated to his work. According to him, this presents a great learning opportunity from civil engineering point of view.He takes his posting here in a very positive spirit. There are certain areas where we can’t move without security cover. Even we probationers, were given security cover when we moved from one place to another at night. Some sections have higher threat perceptions than others, so security is accordingly given.

Those who take CPWD also come here because along with track conversion,highway construction is also going on. NHAI works side by side Indian Railways because alignment in hilly areas is almost same for both of them. If our Armed forces are ready to gaurd at borders then there should be no complaint from govt. officials about working in inhospitable conditions. As an officer,whether in civil services,engineering services or other central services you should not complain that you are forefront of tackling insurgency challenges or completing infrastructure projects. New regime has made its mind about N-E and those aspirants preparing for central services should make their own ,about working here.

Insurgency and separatism in N-E has been due to complex cocktail of race,ethnicity,international interference and geopolitics .Those areas which lack connectivity have lagged behind from rest of the country. This acts as negative feedback,enforcing discontent and suppressing growth. People and their needs are same everywhere unless channeled in a proper way.

More and more vacancies are going to be created in N-E you could one of them to get your posting here. It will be upto you how you want to take it.

Will you curse your fate or rejoice in the beauty of hills? It’s all a matter of perception.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi sir,
    Posts like this inspires me every time. Great work sir. I wanted to know out of all 233 who cleared ESE 2013 civil engineering, how many of them are into IRSE ?

    1. Amit Singh says:

      Thanks for reblogging…

  2. krishna says:

    Sir, I have a doubt. Generally it is said that training is for 72 weeks. Is it not that it will be given to all probationers at same place (i mean in IRICEN or any other rail institute). I think its been only 2 months since you started training. Explain this and related info if there.. regarding posting.
    Thanks in advanve

    1. Amit Singh says:

      Probation period is of 3 years. Out of which 1.5 years is training and next 1.5 years is posting as AEN.

      Of 1.5 years training half if the time is field training and half of the time its institute training at different places.

      1. Sagar says:

        Hi amit sir . Sagar here from Pune. Would like to ask you ..is it really important to join ace hyderabad or delhi academy to crack IES for a above average guy .how much period it will take to complete study in months ? . I got 49 marks in GATE 14 with 1900 rank . waiting for Reply for the same. Thanks and regards.Sir I am in Pune right now . Can we meet ?

      2. Amit Singh says:

        Sorry for the late reply.
        If you are above average guy then it is not necessary to do the coaching but you will have to maintain self discipline in your studies.
        If you have time and money then you should go for coaching, it will definitely be an advantage.
        I would definitely like to meet you. Let me finish training and join Central Railways.

  3. Charanjit M says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am following your blog regularly as I have grown my interest in IES exam.
    I have completed my engineering in electrical stream from Hyderabad (2014 batch)
    My btech % is 70 , and I am planning to write IES 2016
    After reading many people’s interview experience , I see many people from IIT only get selected in IES /IAS exams , and that is just keeping my spirits low as ppl from private colleges just aim MNC nd get settled early ,
    Sir I have very good concepts and I am not interested in M tech , I am ready to drop a year for the preparation to IES

    1. Amit Singh says:

      It is not the case that only IIT people are getting selected though they have advantage over others in their knowledge level and preparation. In my batch of 75, around 9 people are from different IITs. If You are not interested in mtech then better start preparing for ESE. You have lot of time for 2016 exam. You should aim to crack it in first attempt itself.

  4. Charanjit M says:

    Please suggest
    Thank you

  5. roja says:

    Sir,
    Is girls were restricted to certain departments… like Railways??? or any other departments??

    1. Amit Singh says:

      No, Girls are not restricted in any department.They are treated equal everywhere. However special considerations is given to their demands in certain situations.

  6. dev says:

    sir, can u plz suggest me some books to cover building material and construction equipment exhaustively

    1. Amit Singh says:

      there are various books such by authors such as Rangwala,Sushil Kumar,B.C Punamia

  7. roja says:

    sir, could u please suggest a book for strength of materials for civil engineering background??

  8. Yashpal Singh says:

    Hi Amit ,
    it is good to see that you got better view and understanding of NFR/Con. and anyway a good photo of our project from railway boat.
    Best of luck .
    Yashpal Singh
    Dy CE/CON/Bogibeel Bridge Project.

    1. Amit Singh says:

      Sir
      Its my privilege to be a part of Indian railways. It was a great learning experience for me there at Bogibeel Project.
      Thanks for your comment, i truly feel honoured.

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