Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday reviewed the progress of the much-awaited 272 km-long Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link, which is likely to be completed by August 15, 2022, an official spokesperson said.
Sinha reviewed the progress of the project at a meeting here, which was attended by Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, Advisor to Lt Governor K K Sharma, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and Northern Railway General Manager Rajiv Chaudhary, he said.
The spokesperson said the LG was informed that 161 km length of the Rs 27,949 crore project has been commissioned.
Sinha directed the Railway authorities to complete the remaining part of the project from Katra to Banihal by August 15, 2022, and assured full support to the executing agencies for timely completion of the project.
The Railway authorities assured the completion of the project by the set deadline, the spokesperson said.
The world’s highest railway bridge with a height of 359 metres is coming up on the Chenab river under the project, while India’s first cable-stayed railway bridge on Anji Nallah in Reasi is also coming up along the link.
Sinha directed the Railway authorities to expand the rail link towards unconnected areas of Rajouri-Poonch and Kupwara region.
On this, the Railway officials informed 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 in 2017, and for the 39 km-long Baramulla-Kupwara rail link with an estimated cost of Rs 3,843 crores, the survey has been completed and submitted to the Railway Board in July this year.
The LG asked the railways to prepare detailed project reports of both the projects so that the matter could be taken up with the Ministry of Finance for sanctioning of these projects, the spokesperson said.
He said the Railway authorities requested Sinha to resolve the issue of non-availability of minor minerals in Ramban district.
Sinha issued on-spot directions to the director of Geology and Mining and the deputy commissioner of Ramban to issue short-term permits so that the railways could procure essential construction material without any hassle, the spokesperson said.
He said the LG 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-19 situation normalises.
On the intervention of Sinha, the railways agreed to run a local train service between Kathua and Udhampur to benefit local commuters. The local train service will be started once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
It was informed that on the request of the Union Territory government, the railways has agreed to construct a rail over-bridge at its own cost near Madhopur to decongest traffic between Pathankot and Lakhanpur, the spokesperson said.
He said Sinha also asked the railways and the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) to launch a single-ticket travel facility to provide travellers with an opportunity of going from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu via train and bus.
The spokesperson said the LG directed the divisional commissioner of Jammu to identify projects to be taken up by the Indian Railways under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the region.
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