Sreedharan Report on Katra-Banihal Rail link only a ‘Paper Alignment’, requires further study: Railways to Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Railway Board today told the Delhi High Court that recommendations of E Sreedharan panel on the Katra-Banihal rail link to the Kashmir Valley was only a “paper alignment” and requires further studies.

The Board has told a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva that the committee’s report does not provide what would be the proposed expenditure that would be incurred for implementing the panel’s recommendations.

It has said a “proper assessment for good construction status of alignment in this area shall require at least five years and would entail an expenditure of about Rs 300 crore”.

It has said that the panel report has been scrutinised by each of the senior officials of its engineering, mechanical as well as electrical and signaling departments, who have disagreed with the committee’s findings.

“Therefore, the entirely unsustainable observations made in the report by the committee that the alignment can be surveyed, staked and investigated quickly in four to six months, is completely untenable deserving rejection at the threshold itself,” the Board has said in its affidavit.

The Board’s reply was strongly opposed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO which has filed a PIL alleging that the current alignment of the Katra-Banihal rail link had “serious safety problems” and the Railway Board constituted by the Railway Ministryhad rejected the expert panel’s suggestions, including having an alternate alignment.

Bhushan said statements made by the Board question the competence of the committee as well as Sreedharan and asked the court to call the person who drafted the affidavit.

The bench, however, refused to pass any orders and listed the matter for further hearing on August 5.