Jammu-Poonch rail line

Better late than never – appears sometimes not as much prosaic as the fate of a complete ‘never’ would appear disheartening. It is a matter of satisfaction for the people of the State , especially that of areas falling along proposed Jammu – Poonch railway line which, though on the cards, was pending for several years has now been sanctioned at a proposed budgetary provision of Rs.2370 crores. Railways Minister PiyushGoyal has cleared the proposal which had been pending since UPA regime . This very important rail project was devised in the year 2012during the tenure of UPA -2 by the then Railway Minister Mukul Roy declaring it as a ‘National Project’ but no concrete steps worth the name were taken towards starting this project. Even the StateCoalition Government headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had projected extension of train facility to Kupwara in Kashmir and Poonch in Jammu.
The Jammu – Poonch railways line attained more importance following the Union Railway Minister recently announcing the approval of railway line to be extended up to Kupwara from Baramulla in Kashmir while Jammu- Rajouri- Poonch railway line got no clearance . This naturally fed the level of feeling of neglect of the people of the concerned areas to the extent of resentment which finally resulted in the sanctioning of the Jammu – Poonch railway line. It is expected that even the formal foundation laying of the line would be ensured much before imposition of Model Code of Conduct for LokSabha elections. It is, however, further learnt that within a period of three years , the laying of the railway line with a total length of 234.12 kilometres would be completed. However, a detailed statement about the national project and its full details would be given by the Railway Minister in the upcoming railway budget.
This railway line, it is pertinent to note was no ordinary line connecting some villages with a city and few towns in the State but was important from strategic point of view also like BaramullaKupwara as it was going to connect the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch which share Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, with train.This railway line will pass through Akhnoor, Kaleeth, DoriDagar, ChowkiChowraBhambla, Sunderbani, Rajouri and Poonch. Needless to add, all these areas were going to be economically benefitted right from laying of the line up to the actual running of trains. People would definitely get a sense and the taste of development that our country was undergoing especially in respect of spreading of rail net work besides enjoying comfortable and comparatively affordable journey and hence the connectivity.
The brighter view of the sanctioning of the railways link which had been a major demand from the belt of the proposed railway line would be not to link it with the fast approaching Parliamentary elections and even if it would beso, it made no difference as the ultimate beneficiaries were going to be the people of the areas along the proposed line. The fact, however, is that the laying of railway line under reference has been part of BJP’s election promise during 2014 LokSabha elections and almost all poll campaigners of the Party had promised construction of this important rail line. One encouraging development in respect of the project is that the preliminary but most important part of the entire exercise, that of survey has been completed and routes also finalised. The survey has described the project as feasible since it was going to benefit large segments of people living in Rajouri and Poonch districts.
To give a further boost to infrastructural development in the State, Central Government has further approved Rs. 5100 crore worth Jammu- Akhnoor- Nowshera- Rajouri- Poonch National Highway. Even work on Jammu-Akhnoor section has already begun and in respect of rest of the distance, the work shall start very shortly.