November 2019 News

PM For Speedy Completion Of Katra-Banihal Rail Line

6 November 2019
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today directed for speedy completion of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link by next year as the project continued to miss several deadlines and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had recently set 2022 as fresh deadline for completion of the project. Modi gave these directions while reviewing progress of various projects in 16 States and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as linking Kashmir by train with rest of the country was very important from strategic point of view. The Prime Minister called for expediting long delayed projects by the Governments and sought regular progress reports on them. An official handout issued by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir said the Prime Minister reviewed progress on Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project and integrated e-Mandis in Jammu and Kashmir during 31st 'PRAGATI Video Conference' with the Chief Secretaries of the States and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. During review of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link, Modi gave explicit instructions on speedy completion of the project by next year, the official handout said. On October 3, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had set fresh deadline of 2020 for completion of Udhampur-Baramulla railway line saying by 2020, Kashmir will be linked with Kanyakumari by train. He had made the announcement during inaugural run of Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Katra. Ever since its launch, the project has faced series of hurdles beyond Katra especially in construction of several bridges including the highest railway bridge over river Chenab. Late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had first set 2007 deadline for taking the train to the Kashmir valley. Presently, trains operate up to Katra, the holy town and base camp of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji cave shrine, from Jammu side and Banihal from Baramulla in the Kashmir valley. The rail link is missing between Katra and Banihal. Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam participated in the video conference. The Prime Minister has been holding regular reviews of the important projects in the States and Union Territories. 'The Prime Minister desired that long delayed projects should be expedited by the respective Governments. He directed for submission of regular reports on the progress of projects to his office,' the Government handout said. Reviewing the progress of 'Aspirational District Programme', the Prime Minister was informed by the Chief Secretary about dashboard based on 49 performance indicators including the best practices in grafted Walnut and High Density Apple Plantation in district Kupwara. Calling it an act of national service, Modi emphasized on the need to decide on timelines to bring the backward districts up to the national average. He also stressed that young officers must be deployed in the 'Aspirational Districts'. The Prime Minister was informed about the progress in National Agriculture Market platform which has helped in better price discovery. 'e-payments are now being made directly into the account of farmers. Progress in development of two integrated e-Mandis in Jammu & Kashmir was also reviewed,' the handout said. The Prime Minister directed that based on e-models of demand aggregation, Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare should work together on a new start-up model of logistics support, particularly with regard to transfer of agricultural products from one State to another. He said that all the states must come together and use a common, integrated platform for smooth operation.