SPG reviews arrangements for PM’s visit to open track

Excelsior Correspondent

SPG teams inspecting the spot for inauguration of Udhampur-Katra rail track on Thursday.
SPG teams inspecting the spot for inauguration of Udhampur-Katra rail track on Thursday.

JAMMU, Jan 23: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was likely to inaugurate Udhampur-Katra rail track by flagging off a DMU train at 2.30 pm at Udhampur railway station on February 2 bringing to an end several years wait of Mata Vaishno Devi ji pilgrims to reach holy town of Katra, the base camp of the shrine, by train from different States.
As exclusively reported by the Excelsior earlier, Dr Singh would be on a two days visit of Jammu on February 2 and 3 during which he would inaugurate train to Katra on February 2 and open Indian Science Congress at Jammu University on February 3.
Official sources said the Prime Minister would fly to Udhampur around 2.30 pm on February 2 and flag off local DMU train from Udhampur to Katra at about 2.40 pm. It would be about half an hour function after which Dr Singh would fly back to Jammu and had night stay at Raj Bhawan.
On February 3, he would open the Indian Science Congress at Jammu University at 10 am. He would attend the function for about one and a half hours before flying back to New Delhi.
Ahead of Dr Singh’s visit, a high level team of Special Protection Group (SPG) today visited Udhampur and Katra Railway Stations to inspect the spots for inauguration of the train by the Prime Minister. Sources said the SPG had clear preference for holding inaugural function at Udhampur Railway Station, where Dr Singh had in 2005 opened Jammu-Udhampur railway section for trains.
The SPG team inspected both railway stations of Udhampur and Katra and reserved its decision on the spot where the Prime Minister would flag off the train. However, the indications were clear that the spot would be Udhampur.
Sources said Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) was likely to inspect the spot on February 28 to give green signal for chugging off the trains on Udhampur-Katra track. A special Railways team would be here from January 27 to 29 for security clearance and finalisation of other measures for inauguration of the rail track.
Sources said the Railways proposed to run three DMU trains between Jammu-Katra and start two new trains including Kalika (Chandigarh)-Katra and New Delhi-Katra immediately apart from extending the route of two trains from Udhampur to Katra within the next few days of the inauguration of the train.
Later, some more trains would be launched to Katra from different States after next railway budget, which was scheduled for February 12 while some trains running up to Jammu would also be extended to Katra.
The Railways Department would like to connect as many States as possible by train to Katra, which had been attracting nearly one crore pilgrims every year for darshan of Goddess Vaishno Devi.