If all goes according to plan Kashmir will be connected with the remaining regions of the country by rail network within a year.
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be likely to complete before Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
Once the project is completed, Kashmir will be connected with the remaining regions of the country by railway network. After completion of the project a specially built Vande Bharat train will be introduced in the Valley. Total estimated cost of the USBRL protect will be around ₹37000 crore. Of theses over 90 percent already used.
Budget allocation increased from ₹800 crore to ₹6000 crore
"The USBRL project will be completed by Jan/Feb 2024. The budget allocation for the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail project was about ₹800 crore per year before 2014, which has been increased to ₹6000 crore in the year 2022-23" said Ashwini Vaishnav, Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. Vashnav visited Srinagar Valley on Saturday .
"After completion of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail project, specially built Vande Bharat train will be started in the Valley " he said.
The 272 km-long USBRL project, which was declared a “National Project” in 2002, will cover 38 tunnels including the longest tunnel (Tunel number-49) with a length of 12.77km.
Of the total 272km length, the 118 km Qazigund-Baramulla section was commissioned in October 2009, the 18km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.
Works underway on the 111km Katra-Banihal section
Furthermore, works are underway on the 111km Katra-Banihal section which will be likely to completed by February 2024.
According to a senior railway officials, world's most advanced and modern technologies are being used for planning and construction of this project, the challenges are very peculiar and not previously encountered anywhere
"97 Km of the total length of the 111 Km Katra - Banihal section comprises of tunnels which will have 27 tunnels and 37 bridges including longest transportation tunnel (12.76 Km) in the country . Breakthrough of longest transportation tunnel of the country achieved on 15th February 22 and lining works are at completion stage" said an official adding that out of the total 9 stations in this section, several stations are either located inside tunnels or over bridges or both
"This section also includes the Chenab Bridge, which is the Highest Railway Bridge in the world standing at 359 meter, higher than both Qutub Minar and Eiffel Tower" said another railway officials adding that Anji Bridge, the first cable-stayed bridge on Indian Railways is also part of this project.
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