Excavation work on J&K rail tunnel completes

Representational pic

The excavation work inside an 8.6-km-long railway tunnel in Banihal area of J&K’s Ramban district has been completed after 10 years of construction work, officials said on Sunday.

The vital tunnel between Changaldar and Khari is one of several ongoing under construction projects along the 272-km Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line, which is likely to be completed by August 15, 2022, providing an alternate surface link between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the country.

The New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) and a number of techniques were used in this work, an engineer of Northern Railways informed Greater Kashmir.

The tunnel will connect Banihal railway station with Khari railway station on Katra

Banihal rail line passing through Ramban district.

According to an official, the breakthrough was achieved on Saturday. The tunnel was under construction for the past 10 years and the work is being undertaken by Afcons and the ABCI infrastructure companies.

He said the last portion was cleared by the ABCI after three years of work on the 2.5-km section of tunnel No. 74.

The 8.6-km-long railway tunnel will connect the 16-km Khari-Banihal section of the 110-km Katra-Banihal railway track, District Development Commissioner Nazim Zia Khan said.

Khan, who attended the breakthrough function, congratulated the Northern Railway, IRCON and the ABCI for the achievement, saying rest of the work inside the tunnel would be speeded up and completed as per schedule.

In August, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had reviewed the progress on the Rs 27,949-crore Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla project and directed the railway authorities to complete the remaining work from Katra to Banihal by Independence Day, 2022.

The world’s highest railway bridge with a height of 359 metres is coming up on the Chenab river under the project and India’s first cable-stayed railway bridge on Anji Nallah in Reasi is also coming up along the link.