The Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway project along the India-China border is a strategically important project for India. The project is estimated to cost nearly Rs 83,000 crore. The high cost of the project has made the Indian railways to pitch this project as a national one in order to secure funding from the central government for the project.
The rail line from Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh will have a route length of 465 km and will provide better connectivity to both Indian armed forces as well as tourists to the areas lying on the India-China border. The line will foster economic development in the area which lacks round-the-year connectivity, The New Indian Express has reported.
Northern Railway’s general manager Vishesh Chaube told the paper that the project is Indian Railways’ most difficult project.
“The first phase of the survey for the project has been completed with initial estimates pegged at around Rs 83,360 crore. It is one of five most significant projects in terms of strategic importance and will cut the distance between Delhi to Leh by as much as 20 hours." he said.
Chaube said that railways has suggested that as the project provides better connectivity to the armed forces and will implement tourism in the region, it should be declared as a project of national importance. The union government provides funding for such projects of national importance.
The Indian railways has suggested that immediate construction of 51 km stretch between Upshi in Himachal Pradesh and Phe in Leh should be started.
Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Keylong and other towns of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir will be connected by this line. Once completed it will be the highest railway track in the world beating Qinghai-Tibet railway line highest in the world with an altitude of 5,360 metres.
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