Banihal, July 21: General Manager Northern Railway Shobhan Choudhuri along with senior officials of Railways and IRCON International Thursday visited Banihal and Sangaldan area of Ramban district and inspected the ongoing works in Banihal and Katra section of USBRL project.
CAO USBRL SP Mahi; Chief Engineers from USBRL RC Gupta and BBS Tomar; Chief Area Manager Srinagar-Budgam Saqib Yusuf and other senior officials of Firozpur Division accompanied Choudhuri.
The team, which is on a two-day tour to J&K, reached Railway Station Banihal from Kashmir by a special railway inspection car on Thursday afternoon and inspected ongoing works in Banihal-Khari and Sangaldan section of USBRL. The team on Friday morning left for Katra in Reasi district for the inspection of works going on there, official sources said.
The team also inspected main railway stations between Baramulla-Srinagar and Banihal and discussed with the officials regarding the facilities being provided to rail users. It (team) inspected the ongoing work on the railway track between Banihal Railway Station and Tunnel No 77 in Banihal south. A successful motor-trolley trial run, first of its kind, was also done on the railway track laid by construction companies recently in the Banihal area. Choudhuri took stock of progress of ongoing works in the Banihal-Khari-Sangaldan-Katra section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) project. GM Choudhuri directed the IRCON International and other construction company engineers to speed up the work and complete the railway line between Banihal and Sangaldan, part of 111 kilometers long Katra-Banihal section of project, within the scheduled time frame.
The train service between railway station Banihal and railway station Khari is expected to begin by the end of August this year and construction companies are hopeful to complete the balanced work within the next 15 days.
Partap Singh, one of the site engineers, told Greater Kashmir that the laying of railway line and other electrical mechanical works were in the final stage. “We are hopeful to complete the track in Banihal sector within next 10-15 days. The work is in full swing at all locations in Banihal and Khari sector,” he said.
As per officials, after connecting Banihal railway station with railway station Khari, another sixteen kilometers out of 111 kilometers long Banihal-Katra railway segment will get connected by rail and it will be another achievement for Northern Railway in the ongoing USBRL project.
Meanwhile an official spokesperson said that earlier the General Manager Northern Railway Shobhan Choudhuri conducted an intensive inspection of the Banihal-Baramulla rail section of the USBRL project in Kashmir Valley on Thursday morning.
“During the inspection, Choudhuri was accompanied by CAO USBRL, S P Mahi along with Chief Area Manager Srinagar, a team of USBRL project and other senior officials of Firozpur Division. The inspection commenced with a comprehensive evaluation of passenger amenities at prominent railway stations in the Kashmir Valley, namely Baramulla, Budgam, Srinagar, Anantnag, and Qazigund,” he said.
Shobhan Choudhuri, instructed the railway officials to ensure the punctual and safe running of trains while prioritizing the provision of essential facilities to all passengers at these stations. He emphasized enhancing the overall travel experience for railway users.
"The General Manager was apprised of several upcoming initiatives planned for the Kashmir Valley viz; establishment of goods' sheds at strategic locations such as Baramulla, Sopore, Pampore, Awantipora, and Anantnag.It is expected that it will significantly boost the regional trade and commerce," the spokesperson said.
Choudhuri inspected the train maintenance facilities at DEMU Shed, Budgam. He inspected the Vistadome coach there and instructed officials to maintain the high-quality standards.
During the inspection, a comprehensive status report and final location survey (FLS) of key railway projects in the region was also presented to Shobhan Choudhuri.
The key railway projects in the region include the Qazigund-Baramulla doubling, Baramulla-Uri line, Sopore-Kupwara line, Awantipora-Shopian line, and Anantnag-Pahalgam line.
"Such vital infrastructural developments are poised to revolutionize the railway network in Kashmir Valley, paving the way for improved connectivity and economic growth," the spokesperson said.
During the inspection, Shobhan Choudhuri took stock of the various aspects of the railway system and made significant observations regarding passenger amenities, infrastructure development, railway electrification and implementation of MEMU train services. He emphasized the urgency of putting MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) train services into operation as soon as possible.
"These initiatives are expected to drive the Northern Railway's commitment to sustainability and efficiency while providing commuters with modern and eco-friendly travel options. The General Manager expressed admiration for the successful implementation of the One Station One Product (OSOP) Scheme in the Kashmir Valley. This scheme has not only generated local employment opportunities but has also provided a significant boost to the promotion of indigenous products and the local economy," the spokesperson said.