Plan To Put Kashmir Valley On Rail Map
4 March 2000
New Delhi: The strategically important Kashmir Valley will be brought on the rail map within the next two years provided the State Government makes the land available to the railways at the earliest. The railways is presently constructing the line from Jammu to Udhampur via Katra, the base point of the Vaishno Devi shrine, and is awaiting the allotment of land for the remaining stretch. The line will be extended to Srinagar with a station planned at Nowgam. On the way, it will connect Anantnag and Quazigund towns. The railways is awaiting allotment of land from the State Government in order to start construction activity for these stations. In addition to the Central Government funded Jammu - Udhampur -Srinagar -Baramulla broad gauge line, the railways is also planning another strategically important line from Baramulla to the border district of Kupwara. A survey has been ordered and depending on the Central Government''s assurance to finance the construction, work on this 60-km-long line might begin after two years. With the private sector shying away from constructing the line in the terrorism affected Valley, the onus has fallen on the public sector Indian Railway Construction Organisation (Ircon) whose personnel have been sent on deputation after being given higher emoluments. This line too is also expected to be strategically important as it will link insurgency-affected towns like Kupwara, Sogam and Shopian. The line will also provide a rail route to the tourist spots of Pahalgam and Sonamarg. The prestigious Vaishno Devi shrine, a few kms from Jammu, is expected to be accessible by broad gauge train within a year.