Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link, a national project, has brought in employment, prosperity and connectivity to the people with more than 500 lakh man-days of employment generated so far.
The ambitious Kashmir rail link project has been undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of a broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas, with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with the rest of the country.
The all-weather, comfortable, convenient and cost-effective mass transportation system will be the catalyst for the overall development of the northernmost alpine region of the country.
Construction of the first three phases of the project has been completed and the line is in operational use for running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir Valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region.
Work on the intervening 111 kilometre Katra-Banihal section, the most arduous and treacherous portion due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges, is ongoing.
There are several iconic bridges and tunnels coming up in this section. Most of the rail track is slated to be in tunnels or bridges in this section.
The project has brought in employment, prosperity and connectivity to the people. The backward districts of Reasi and Ramban have especially benefited from the project. Hinterlands hitherto inaccessible now have road connectivity.
Medical, educational, market and business activities have become easily reachable for the people. The cost of construction of the 111 km long Katra-Banihal section so far has been Rs 30,672.34 crore.
The budget allocation to the project has increased manifold since 2014, enabling speedy construction activity.
Indian Railways has also constructed approach roads for the project in this region which has transformed lives of many villagers by providing them with crucial road connectivity.
This has provided road connectivity to 73 villages of far-flung areas benefiting around 1.5 lakh people.
Earlier, the area was accessible only by foot or boats while now it has motorable roads for four wheelers. Now Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana roads are taking off from these approach roads. Hence, immediate benefits of project execution are reaching the local population.
More than 205 km long approach roads were constructed which include one tunnel and 320 bridges.
For the project, 1,833.92 hectares of land has been acquired and jobs given to 799 eligible land givers.
Employment has also been provided through contractors to 14,069 locals while more than 500 lakh man-days of employment have been generated so far.
The project has generated various activities in the area under corporate social responsibility which include nine ambulances provided in Ramban district, 15 motorised wheelchairs, free medical camps held in Banihal, Ramban and Reasi.
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