Light Rail System for Jammu and Srinagar

Promises obviously should not be made if they cannot be fulfilled , at least, in the very near future. This holds significance when much hype is attached to a project and the same is shared by a senior Government dignitary in a press conference with the public. Development and economic progress cannot be achieved in the absence of adequate capital or budgeted funds allocation and when the entire problem revolves around that issue , it becomes difficult to give practical shape to a project conceived and told about its multifarious objectives. Coming straight to the point, the Light Rail System for the twin capital cities of the UT has yet not been sanctioned although an announcement to that effect was made nearly more than a year back. It is reported that although the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is said to have been duly prepared and submitted as well , whether technical feasibility and economic viability like cardinal issues were properly dealt with in the said report is not known since the two are connected with the availability of resources. In a developing country, there are scarce resources and the problem of capital formation and it is absolutely sheer, proper and judicious management of the available limited resources to give a project of the type of the Rail Road Project a practical shape. Arranging a whooping amount of Rs.11400 crore at 2019 basis of cost and pricing requires proper, meticulous and expert planning and arranging of resources.
The project in question dealing with a mode of urban transportation broadly involves acquiring land, laying of tracks, erecting overhead electric wires, acquiring coaches, provision of exclusive right -of -way to monitor speed and savings on time, cost benefit analysis, economic viability, looking to other modes of available transportation or whether a profit making venture or not. Experience about acquiring land for any such project which fall at or nearer the road or the proposed route is well known being a long drawn exercise encountering simultaneously many problems. There could be more technical aspects needing lot of investments which obviously put a challenge to the very concept of introducing this system of urban transportation. It would have been the first of its kind to having been introduced in Jammu and Kashmir even if ready to be commissioned some five or six years hence. In short, announcements about such projects hold sense only if basic nuts and bolts are identified and put together so that the ”tool” proposed could get a shape.
However, the latest status of the project is that the Detailed Project Report is lying with the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs awaiting approval. Whether any reminders or follow up from the UT administration are there, is not known. Also, since rejection of the project or reviewing the feasibility of the proposed transportation system meriting some sort of postponement of formally according approval from the Union Ministry too is not known , it could be inferred that the promise of the project is still there or the possibilities are there to run instead a full fledged metro system which is a refined and more popular mode . It is also possible that due to tremendous strains suffered by the entire economic system of the country by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project must have been kept in abeyance. In any case, an air of suspense hovers over the project. On the other hand , some drastic measures undoubtedly are urgently needed to be taken to address the main issue of requiring a better, economical, comfortable, environmental friendly and workable transport system in both the capital cities of the UT.