NEW DELHI, May 20: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Information Department, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali called on the Union Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhu here today and pressed for starting work on Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch Railway line.
The Minister informed the Union Minister that railway connectivity is vital for the development of a particular region and lack of development in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch commonly known as Pir Panjal region is attributed to lack of proper connectivity. He said that in 21st century Rajouri-Poonch region is not connected by the railways even though Jammu-Poonch railway project is a long pending demand of the people of the area.
He informed the Union Minister that J&K shares 1001 km long LoC with Pakistan out of which a major portion falls in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch where people have suffered a lot due to one or the other reason. The Minister apprised Suresh Prabhu that in view of the sufferings of the people on various counts there is a need to have a special focus by Government of India towards the development of Pir Panjal region as people of the area have immensely suffered during wars, cross-LoC flare-ups and also during the turmoil in the State.
He said the rail connectivity will provide immense relief to the people of the area as well as the forces deployed in the area and will also act as most strategic railway line in the country.
Zulfkar said that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his visit to district Poonch in 2014 had announced construction of the Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch railway line but till date no action has been initiated on the project.
It is pertinent to mention that Railway authorities had also prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the said railway line under which the rail was scheduled to touch Akhnoor, Kaleeth, Dori Daggar, Chowki Chowra, Bhambla, Sunderbani, Nowshera and Rajouri before reaching Poonch. He said that a hope had generated among the people of border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in 2008 when survey of Jammu-Poonch railway line was taken up, which had further gained momentum in 2012 when the project was estimated to cost Rs 13612.81 crore and had been taken up as a national project in March 2012. He however added that no progress has been made on this project as on date.
Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu assured all possible help from Government of India to connect Poonch and Rajouri with Railway network.