How Kashmir Rail Link Project Is Bringing Prosperity To The Region
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project is bringing people in the region greater employment, prosperity, and connectivity.
Context: The national project aims to connect Kashmir region with the rest of the country.
Rapid work: Indian Railways is constructing the broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas.
Budget allocation for the project has increased manifold since 2014, enabling speedy construction activity.
The first three phases of the project have been completed.
The railway line is in operational use for the running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir Valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region.
Work is ongoing on the intervening 111 km Katra-Banihal section.
This is the most difficult section due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges.
Several iconic bridges and tunnels are coming up here.
Most of the rail track in this part is slated to be in tunnels or bridges.
Project expenditure on this stretch so far is roughly Rs 30,650 crore.
Good for the people: The project is bringing benefits to the residents of the region.
The backward districts of Reasi and Ramban have especially benefited.
Hinterland areas that could previously only be accessed by foot or boats now have road connectivity.
Medical, educational, market, and business activities have become more accessible.
Way to prosperity: The Railways has also constructed approach roads for the project in this region.
Over 1,800 hectares of land were acquired.
Over 205 km-long approach roads have been built, including one tunnel and 320 bridges.
New road connectivity to 73 villages in far-flung areas has benefited around 1.5 lakh people.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana roads are now taking off from these approach roads.
In addition, close to 800 eligible land givers have been given jobs.
Employment has also been provided through contractors to 14,069 locals.
Over 500 lakh man-days of work have been generated so far.
Better access to healthcare: The project has sparked various activities in the area under corporate social responsibility.
This includes nine ambulances provided in Ramban district and 15 motorised wheel chairs.
Free medical camps have been held in Banihal, Ramban, and Reasi.
Bottom line: Thanks to the Kashmir rail link project, and the secondary benefits accrued from the large investment, things are looking upwards for the people in the region.
Adapted from Arun Kumar Das' article.
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