November 2006 News

J&K wait for train-ride is almost over

10 November 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Budgam: They may have to wait some more for a train ride, but the opportunity to see a coach arriving in the backyard is not what they would miss. As a rubber tyre-pulled truck arrived on Thursday evening at Ompora, a central Kashmir Budgam village where one of the main stations is proposed to be built, people swarmed to see the bogies being pulled down. The bogies reached Srinagar after trucking on the 300-km mountainous road from Jammu and would be used for trial runs on the tracks being laid in Srinagar. The Northern Railway plans to run a train from Qazigund in south end of the Kashmir Valley to Baramulla in its northern part this coming February. The trial runs are seen as a major step in the realisation of the dream that a common Kashmiri has not experienced. The enthusiasm was evident as people lined up along the railway track in Ompora waved at the driver of the trailer-truck that transported the bogies. Having seen different media channels reporting the journey of the bogey from Jammu to Srinagar on a daily basis since its start on October 31, people at Ompora were well anticipating the arrival of the bogies. The driver, Joginder Singh from Bihar, responded with a feeling of gaiety in his heart - waving and smiling back at people. 'I have carried the most valuable gift to Kashmiris,' he said. Singh is part of a group of 25 other specially trained employees of ABC India Limited, a company that has been contracted for transporting the railway coaches to the valley. As crowds - men, women, school children - kept pouring in, a police party had to be called in to prevent any mishap, though a CRPF party was already deployed at the spot near the high school in Ompora where the bogies were slated to land. 'It is like a dream coming true,' said Mohammad Shaban Wani, an elderly villager in Ompora. One of the farmers who sold his land to the Government said: 'It looked like it will never happen but now it is here. It will improve New Delhi's bad track record in Kashmir.'


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