Work on Banihal-Katra railway link in full swing

"The project is to ensure travel by train from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is likely to be completed in the next two years.” [File]
"The project is to ensure travel by train from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is likely to be completed in the next two years.” [File]Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Banihal: The work on the 110 kilometres long railway line between Katra and Banihal is in full swing after the Northern Railways has almost completed the excavation work of railway tunnels between Banihal and Khari sector.

Officials said that the Northern Railways achieved another milestone with the “breakthrough” effect to connect tunnel number 77 A D in the Bankoot area of Banihal on the World Tunneling Day on Saturday.

“With this “breakthrough”, most of the excavation work of railway tunnels between Banihal and Khari sector has been completed by IRCON International, the company which is executing this project on behalf of Northern Railways,” they added.

The “breakthrough” ceremony was attended by the engineers of IRCON International, the Managing Director BCC Imran Beig and Additional Deputy Commissioner Ramban Harbans Lal Sharma besides others. Around 2-kms long tunnel project is being constructed at a cost of Rs 300 Cr by two construction companies separately.

“BCC is using load header machine for the first time in this rail project for tunnel excavation work,” Beig informed.

While talking to media on the occasion, ADC Ramban Harbans Lal Sharma said, “On the occasion of World Tunneling Day, Indian Railways has crossed another challenging milestone between Banihal and Khari sector of Katra-Banihal railway link. The project is to ensure travel by train from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is likely to be completed in the next two years.”

“To achieve this deadline, the work on the railway project in Ramban district is in full swing. The 53-kms long railway line in mountainous Ramban district comprises 96 percent underground railway tunnels. Over 11000 kanals of land has been handed over to the railway by the district administration,” he said.

“The district administration Ramban is monitoring railway project works. Even during pandemic restrictions, work continued by strictly following with COVID19 SOPs,” Sharma added.

Beig told reporters, “With the help of a load header machine there is no need for carrying blasts inside the tunnel which sometimes damages nearby residential houses in vicinity. We have been given one year deadline by IRCON to complete the left out work of tunnel no 77 and I’m hopeful that BCC will complete the project within the deadline.”

As per railway authorities, the work on this sector will be completed in December 2023 thus connecting Kashmir valley directly with the other parts of India.

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