From KO Archives: Cabinet gives nod to Qazigund-Baramulla rail project

New Delhi: The Centre today decided to take up work on war footing on Qazigund-Baramulla rail project, while the work on Udhampur-Qazigund railway project has been abandoned for the time being for financial reasons.

The decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which was chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, who briefed newsmen after the CCEA, said the prestigious project has been handed over to the IRCON International and is expected to be completed by the year 2003 year.

However, the government decided to abandon for the time being Udhampur-Qazigund Rail Project due to rough terrain and financial constraints.

He said the funds for the project will be made available by the centre so that the work is executed expeditiously. The Railway Ministry had already allocated Rs 75 crores for the preliminary work of the project. Nitish Kumar said the Jammu and Kashmir government has already completed acquisition of land for laying the track.

Infact work has already begun for the construction of Srinagar Railway Station.

The Project will help in transportation of goods in the Valley and ease pressure on the choked roads of the Kashmir Division,While the IRCON International will be the main contractors for the project.Small works will be allocated to local contractors. 

The Minister said that it was felt that the Udhampur-Qazigund Project would take a long period to complete as it involves huge amount and technical expertise. So the Cabinet was of the view that the work on the Qazigund sector should be taken up immediately.The Minister said Funds will not come in the way of the completion of the project.

The much-publicised project, Udhampur-Qazigund-Baramulla, which will cost Rs 2500 crores, was announced by Prime Minister I.K. Gujral in 1997.
Nitish Kumar said that special incentives will be given to employees, who will be deputed for the execution of the  project .This include insurance cover for Rs 15 lakhs each and free boarding and lodging.

 (KASHMIR OBSERVER, 31  January, 1999)

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