NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is making all efforts to provide rail connectivity to all capitals of North Eastern states by 2020 and the work is going on to hasten early completion of long pending Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula rail line (USBRL) project which will provide all weather rail link to valley with the rest of the country, said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Addressing the Consultative Committee meeting of Members of Parliament for Ministry of Railways, Prabhu said most of the railway projects have been declared national projects in these regions and adequate funds for them have been arranged by the central government.
"The Prime Minister has been emphasizing on ensuring all-round development especially in infrastructure sector in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in North-Eastern States. Indian Railways is committed to provide better railway connectivity in North-Eastern States and in the State of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Railways is constantly monitored these projects both at zonal level and at Railway Board level. There is also a periodical review at the level of the Railway Minister and efforts are on for timely completion of the projects so as to avoid cost over-run and time over-run.
He held meeting with J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to discuss improving rail connectivity. Railways also propose to have a high level committee to hasten the work on the Katra-Banihal project. The proposed high-level Committee shall have one Nodal Officer each from the State Government and the Union Railway Ministry, which will regularly meet to iron out the issues and expedite work on the most difficult stretch.
The Chief Minister stressed on putting in place an institutional grid to fast-track progress on all issues pertaining to construction of Katra-Banihal Railway Line. Out of the 111-km Katra-Banihal rail stretch, nearly 85 km comprises laying of tunnels and 8-10 km bridge length on very rugged and difficult terrain.
Describing railway connectivity as vital all-weather alternate link in the state, Sayeed requested railways to introduce special services like Palace on Wheels at various tourist destinations. Prabhu indicated that with support from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) it can be worked out and exclusively for tourists renowned Kashmiri cuisine, wazwan, will be served to the visitors.