Baramulla-Uri rail link in offing

Tenders floated for carrying out survey
File Photo
File Photo

Srinagar, May 14: In order to promote growth and overcome logistical obstacles encountered by the people of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the central government has started the process of linking the border area, with the railway line.

Regarding this, the northern railways is prepared to begin construction on the 50-kilometre Baramulla-Uri segment in Kashmir, for which surveying tenders have been issued. The Uri border region will be connected to the trains after the project is finished.

Northern Railways is considering starting the Final Location Survey (FLS) for the new Baramulla-Uri line, for which the Ministry is soliciting offers, according to Chief Area Manager for Kashmir Railways Saqib Yousuf.

“Tenders have been issued for engineering survey work of a railway line or roadway utilising current survey techniques such as aerial survey (aerial photogrammetric survey or aerial LIDAR) and DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) levelling and production of DEM).”

A satellite assessment has been carried out by the railway ministry for the 2020 construction of a railway from Baramulla to Kupwara in northern Kashmir. The central government gave the project its nod in 2018.

According to a senior railway official, the government has informed the railway board that the aerial survey report was filed in July 2020.

The project’s cost was estimated at Rs 3848 crore in a preliminary survey, the official added.

The national Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project is almost near completion. The project’s completion date has been set by the railway ministry for 2024; once the rail line is operational, there will be a direct rail connection from Jammu to Baramulla.

The government’s decision to expand the train connection from Baramulla to Uri is a new one that will boost the local economy.

 People, products, and security personnel will be able to move more quickly, according to them.

In March 2002, the project was designated as one of national importance. Additionally, it is the largest mountain railway undertaking since independence. It goes through the young Himalayas, tectonic thrusts, and faults on its way from Jammu to Baramulla.

Three portions of the train line, each measuring 25 km from Udhampur to Katra, 18 km from Banihal to Qazigund, and 118 km from Qazigund to Baramulla, have been constructed.

Between Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in the Jammu region and Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir, trains run regularly.

According to a report from the central government, the rail connection to Kashmir has been delayed for more than 20 years and has witnessed cost escalation by Rs 25,449 crore during 241 months.

As per the report, the date of approval of the project was March 1995 with an estimated cost of Rs 2500 crore.

The revised cost now is Rs 27,949 crore implying a cost overrun of Rs 25,449 crore and a time overrun of 241 months.

A senior official said that the Udhampur-Baramulla-Srinagar Rail (UBSR) Link in Jammu and Kashmir has essentially finished construction on the rail tunnel.

After 150 years of the advent of the railway system in the subcontinent, a train ran for the first time in Kashmir in 2008.

The train from Banihal to Baramulla is currently in service.

Banihal, Halar Shahabad, Qazigund, Sidhura, Anantnag, Bijbahara, Panzgam, Awantipora, Kakapura, Pampore, Srinagar, Budgam, Mazhama, Patan, Humire, Sopore, and Baramulla are 17 stations along the 135 km railway line.

The four sections of this rail project, which is being built at a cost of Rs 27,949 crore are Udhampur-Katra, Katra-Banihal, Banihal-Qazigund, and Qazigund-Baramulla.

In the 1990s, the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao announced the project of laying a rail line to Kashmir while in 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee termed it a “national project”.

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