Jammu and Kashmir’s newly appointed lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday(22nd August 2020) last week reviewed the progress of 272 km long Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line project, being built at a cost of Rs 27,949 crore.
Sinha, who was informed that the 161 km length of the project has been commissioned, asked the railways to complete the remaining portion between Katra and Banihal by August 15, 2022.
The railway line project, considered a key infrastructure initiative for the region, includes the construction of the world’s highest railway bridge over river Chenab, at a height of 359 metres. Similarly, India’s first cable-stayed railway bridge on Anji Nallah in Reasi is also coming up along the link.
The LG directed the railway authorities to expand the rail link towards unconnected areas of Rajouri-Poonch and Kupwara region.
Railway officers said that a preliminary survey for the 223 km long Jammu-Poonch rail link, at an estimated cost of Rs 22,768 crore, was completed and submitted to the railway board in 2017. They added that another survey for a 39 km long Baramulla-Kupwara rail link to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 3843 core has also been completed and submitted to the board in July 2020.
The LG requested the railways to prepare DPRs (Detailed Project Report) for both the projects so that the matter could be taken up with the ministry of finance for funding of these projects.
Sinha also asked the railways to run Vistadome coaches in Kashmir to attract tourists and offer them a better view of the scenic Kashmir valley, once the Covid situation normalises.
On the intervention of LG, the railways agreed to run local train service between Kathua and Udhampur for the benefit of local commuters. The local train service will be started once the Covid pandemic subsides.
Sinha also proposed launching a single-ticket travel facility allowing travel from Kashmir to Kanyakumari via trains and busses. It was decided that the service would be started after the Covid situation normalises.