Katra: Konkan Railway Corporation Limited – the contractor executing the project, has extended the deadline for the completion of KatraDharam stretch of the much awaited Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link (USBRL) to 2019.
USBRL will connect Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country. Earlier, the deadline was 2018.
The 35-km long track, being constructed for the last 13 years, has been delayed by a year and will now be completed in 2019 by KRCL.
“Almost 50 to 60 per cent of the work is complete, but 2019 is the target we have to achieve,” Sanjay Gupta, KRCL Chief Managing Director, told reporters.here.
He said that once the project will be completed, it may further take some time to finally run train on the track.
“Out of the 35 km-long stretch, in 28 km, there would be 14 tunnels, out of which 12 are ready,” he asserted and said that it will take two more years to complete the rest two tubes.
Tube T1 will be completed in December 2016, while Tube T5 will get ready in 2017, he added.
“Two emergency exit tunnels are also being constructed, along these with two tunnels to rescue the travellers at the time of emergency,” he said and added that in 3.5 km-stretch, there are 21 bridges, including the world’s highest rail bridge on river Chenab. Out of 21, three are completed.
The CMD said that Chenab bridge under construction in village Kori in Reasi will be completed in 2019 beginning and it will be one of the main tourist attractions. “The land adjoining this bridge has also been purchased by the builders to construct hotels to woo tourists,” he added.
He further said that in Reasi there are four railway stations and one in Ramban is proposed, adding, “Reasi Road, Salal A, Salal B and Dugga in Reasi and Sangaldan in Ramban are proposed stations.”
The project is personally being monitored by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thus there is also no shortage of funds, said Gupta adding out of estimated cost of Rs 6100 crore,of the project so far, approximately Rs 2900 crore has been utilised .KRCL will earn revenue of 400-500 crore from this project in the current year.”
The officer however, said that due to tough topography, technical snags and legal cases, the project got delayed from its scheduled time but with the help of national and international experts, the snags were repaired following which, the construction work has been on fast track.
“As there was poor road connectivity to the villages surrounding the area where the project is in progress, KRCL, constructed 128-kms long roads for the vehicles shifting goods required,” he maintained and said that it is also benefitting the local populace.
Gupta also batted for promoting tourism sector with the consent of the state authorities.”The 326-km long rail project from Jammu to Baramulla, estimated at the cost of 19565 crore, will connect ‘Paradise On Earth’ with rest of the country.
There are 930 bridges and 39 tunnels between Udhampur-Baramulla 272-kms long track, he added.
“There is yet some time to complete 110-kms long Katra-Banihal rail link,” Mr Gupta said and added besides KRCL, Northern Railways is constructing 5-kms while IRCON is constructing a 72-kms long rail track. There are 40 bridges and 32 tunnels between Katra-Banihal rail link,The longest will be 12.30 kms, said the Konkan Railways officer.