Braving the tough terrain, the work on the 125-km Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail line in Uttarakhand is moving ahead, with the project having achieved a total of 41 per cent progress.
The broad-gauge rail line estimated to cost over Rs 16,200 crore will connect Rishikesh in the foothills, to Karnaprayag, while passing through five districts of Uttarakhand, namely, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag and Chamoli.
There are 12 railway stations en route — Yog Nagari Rishikesh in Rishikesh, Muni ki Reti, Shivpuri, Manjilgaon, Sakni, Devprayag, Kirti Nagar, Srinagar, Dhari devi, Rudraprayag, Gholtir and Karnaprayag.
Out of the 125.2 km length of rail line, 104 km will be through tunnels which is around 84 per cent of the total length of the line. The project has a total of 17 tunnels including a 15.1 km tunnel, one of the longest in the country, between Devprayag and Lachmoli.
According to the update shared by the Ministry of Railways, total tunnelling progress, including the main tunnel and escape tunnel, is 115 km, against a total scope of 213.35 km. Tunnelling works have been divided into 10 packages, and work on all 10 packages are underway.
A look at the work done so far :
Bringing Char Dham Closer
The rail link between Rishikesh and Karnaprayag, is being built as a part of the Char Dham Rail line project of the Indian Railways, so as to improve pilgrim connectivity to the Char Dham shrines of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath which are situated in the Garhwal Himalayas.
The new rail line will be a game changer for the hilly state as this will be the first time that a railway line will go into the hinterland and connect the region with the plain areas.
Thus, it will facilitate easy access to pilgrimage centres situated in the state of Uttarakhand, connecting new trade centres, development of backward areas and to serve the population living in the area.
The first section of 5.7 km between the existing Virbhadra station and Yog Nagari Rishikesh station was commissioned in March, 2020. The remaining railway line from Yog Nagari Rishikesh to Karnaprayag is targeted to be commissioned by December 2024.
When the project is completed, the distance between Rishikesh and Karnaprayag will be reduced to 2 hours, from the present 7 hours.
The line is also part of an Indian geostrategic initiative to build infrastructure along the India-China border to discourage Chinese expansion.
The project is considered to be of national strategic importance and is being tracked on the union government’s PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) portal.
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