J&K gets highest ever allocation of Rs 6003 cr in budget for Railways

Completion of USBRL to follow remote connectivity projects

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, Feb 3: Work on several ongoing as well as proposed projects and Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line project is all set to get further momentum as Rs 6003 crores have been allocated in the Budget 2023-24 for Railways in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
This is the highest ever budget allocation for Railways in Jammu and Kashmir and six times more than the allotment from 2009 to 2014 during the UPA Government. This was stated by the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, while addressing a press conference at New Delhi today.
This huge budget allocation is likely to fast track the work on several ongoing as well as proposed Railway projects in Jammu Kashmir, particularly the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line (USBRL) Project, which is nearing completion by the end of this year.
According to the Railway Minister, progress of work on USBRL Project is very good and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been regularly reviewing it after every one and half month.
“The Government thought process is that the completion of this big project be followed with the planning for remote connectivity projects by taking up surveys and preparing Detailed Project Reports for the same,” he said.
Pertinent to mention that under USBRL project, broad-gauge railway line is being constructed through the Himalayas for connecting Kashmir region with rest of the country. Construction of the first three phases of the project has been completed and the line is in operational use for running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region. Work on the intervening 111 Km section Katra-Banihal, the most arduous and treacherous portion due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges, is ongoing. Most of the rail track in this section is slated to be in tunnels or iconic bridges.
The highest ever allocation in Budget 2023-24 for Railways in Jammu and Kashmir will enable speedy construction activities on all the ongoing as well as proposed projects.
Besides Rs 250 crores Remodeling and Rs 215.71 crore Redevelopment work at Jammu Railway Station, the ongoing Railway projects in J&K include two additional PFs and one additional washing line work at SVDK, Container Terminal at Samba, POL siding at Bajalta, Banihal Yard layout changes for accommodating maintenance machines and relief trains, etc.
Similarly, the proposed Railway projects in J&K include Kathua Yard remodeling work to improve reception- dispatch facilities, Gati Shakti Cargo Terminal at Vijaypur, intermediate block signals between Chakh Rakhwal – Katra, Jammu – Bari Brahmana and Vijaypur- Samba to improve the line capacity in this region, updating survey for Baramulla-Kupwara Rail line, a new siding at Pattan (Banihal-Srinagar section), Anantnag Goodshed work, Pampore & Baramulla Goodshed under Gati Shakti, converting of Sopore halt station into block station for making goods handling facility, renewal of maintenance facilities at Budgam station as per latest standards, redevelopment of SVDK Station, a new Goodshed at Chan Arorian station, high level platforms for passenger convenience at Manwal, Bajalta and Sangar and extension of five Platforms in Valley to accommodate full change length rake.