Bouquet for Jammu railways

Presenting the railway budget in the Parliament for the financial year 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has showered Jammu Railway with many favours and facilities so as to streamline rail services to the northern region. Taking special interest in bringing the J&K State on the rail map of India, he had last year inaugurated the Katra railway station by flagging off the first train from Katra to Jammu and onwards to other parts of the country. The most crucial part of the railways in J&K State is the linking of Katra with Banihal, a very difficult and tough piece of railway engineering which the Rail Ministry has taken up. The Minister said that 35 kilometers of tunneling on this crucial track is completed out of a total of 95 kilometers and the work on the remaining part of tunneling project is going on smoothly according to the master plan. Though he did not specify the time frame yet the fact that he was satisfied with the speed with which work on the project was being carried out is in itself good news. However, the Minister said that the project (Udhampur-Srinagar-Banihal) appraisal has been fast tracked by forming a dedicated committee in the Railway Board. Monitoring Online System is at final stage of development for Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project. After the link is established, the valley will be connected by rail with the rest of the country.
Railway Minister has announced a slew of facilities for Jammu rail service which will give a new vitality to rail connectivity of Jammu with the rest of the country. Among new proposals are ‘Satellite Freight Goods Terminal’ at Bari Brahmana with a cost of 59.2 lakh rupees  and ‘Development of Coaching Terminal’ at a cost of 1.80 crore rupees in Jammu even as he said that one-third of tunneling work on Katra-Banihal railway section has been completed. Goods Handling Line with Covered Goods Shed and Cement Handling Facility’ at Chand Arorian in Kathua district for Rs 16.49 lakh has also been announced by the Minister. A very important announcement in regard to streamlining rail journey between Jalandhar and Jammu was the announcement of widening of all four sections of Jalandhar-Jammu railway track for upcoming financial year of 2016-17. The benefit of this widening will mean reduction in the traffic bottleneck and number of double crossings on railway bridges on Pathankot -Jammu line have also been suggested which will ultimately reduce the time of journey between Pathankot and Jammu and onwards to Katra.
Good and great news for the people in the districts of Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch is that the Railway Minister has announced that his ministry has allocated a sum of rupees 33 lakhs for survey of Jammu – Poonch railway via Akhnoor and Rajouri. It will be reminded that survey of this track had once been ordered and undertaken some time back but the project was shelved by the Congress Govt for reasons not known. The Railway Minister has indicated that the rail link to Poonch will be taken up and if that happens, then economically backward but strategically most crucial border districts of Poonch and Rajouri will get a boon. Rail link will drastically change the economy and living standards of the people in these districts. It will be 223 kilometers long railway line next only to Jammu -Baramulla line when that becomes functional. It emerges that in next one decade entire State of Jammu and Kashmir will be connected with the rest of the country through railway line. One can imagine what economic boon it would mean for the State.
Apart from this, the Minister announced a number of overhead and sub-way bridges on the entire link from Pathankot to Jammu which will reduce to a large extent the accidents happening on level crossings. Actually, nine sub-ways were announced in lieu of six level crossings on Pathankot-Jammu Tawi and three level crossings on Jammu Tawi-Udhampur railway sections.
These projects are in addition to overall developmental schemes that are underway with the Railway Ministry like upgrading many railway stations, providing added space for passengers, improving facilities to passengers, providing WiFi facilities at some railway stations and a large number of more facilities.

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