The dream project of Government of India project to link Kashmir with rest of the country through all-weather rail network is likely to be realized by year 2023, said railway officials involved in the project.
They added that crucial six-kilometre long tunnel on theKatra-Banihal section got through today near Reasi. The tunnel was completed in4 years at a cost of over Rs 550 crores.
The official maintained that Katra-Banihal section of theproject is considered the toughest in the country's engineering history andinvolves the construction of 27 bridges, including the tallest rail bridge inthe world, and 37 tunnels, one of which is the longest in Asia at more than 12kms.
"Most of the 111-km Katra-Banihal route will consist oftunnels (95 kms) and bridges," railway officials said.
The officials said that railway line, which could becomefunctional in four years, is seen as a big development push by the NarendraModigovernment in the Valley.
"Once commissioned, this project connects Kashmir Valleywith the rest of the country by rail, which will enable trains to operatebetween New Delhi and Srinagar in just 14 hours,' they added.
Costing over Rs 40,000 crores, it will provide all-weatherconnectivity and will be a cornerstone of the government's outreach programmein the state.
According to Deputy Commissioner Reasi, InduChib, connectingKashmir Valley with the rest of the country through rail is a big part of theUnion government's outreach programme.