M A I N   N E W S

jammu & kashmir
Delhi-Katra train brings cheer
Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Jammu, February 26
With the announcement of a direct train to holy town of Katra and extending railway line up to Ladakh and border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, the railway budget is a bonanza for Jammu and Kashmir.

While the announcement to start a direct New Delhi-Katra AC Express for the Vaishno Devi-bound pilgrims has been welcomed by the business community in Katra, in Kashmir valley, where the services were started few years back, expressed satisfaction with proposed projects for the Valley.

Apart from this new train services: Bathinda-Jammu Tawi Express (weekly) via Patiala, Rajpura; Kota-Jammu Tawi Express (weekly) via Mathura, Palwal have been announced.

Bansal said direct train to Katra will be run six days a week while stretch connecting holy town to Udhampur is expected to the commissioned by May-June.

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) member Siraj Ahmed said: “There is need to expedite work on connecting Kashmir with rest of the country. Since there is yet no railway link at the moment, we are lagging behind in business with other parts of India”.

After long wait, the announcement is quite promising for the benefit of pilgrims and locals. It will allow more people to reach the holy town, without having to travel from Jammu by road.

— Baldev Raj Sharma, local MLA

The Kashmir train runs over a distance of 119 km between Qazigund in south Kashmir and Baramulla in north Kashmir, after it first started chugging between Ananatng and Mazhom through Srinagar on October 11, 2008.

Vice-president of the Katra Hotel and Restaurants Association Rakesh Wazir said direct railway line to holy town will have big impact on local economy and will save time of pilgrims. “Nearly 25,000 passengers visit town every day and there was only road connection with the town, now the alternative of train will ease the pressure and also help in tourism development”, Wazir said.

It has been announced that there will be ‘yatra slips’ to pilgrims traveling by rail at the time of booking of the ticket saving their time, while undertaking the pilgrimage to one of the famous shrines of Hindus.

Bonanza for state

  • Launching a multi-modal travel package with the cooperation of state government to enable passengers to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar and Baramulla on a common rail-bus ticket
  • Feasibility of issuing ‘Yatra Parchis’ to pilgrims traveling by rail at the time of booking of railway ticket is being explored in coordination with Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board
  • Providing need based rail connectivity to border areas. Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla project now top priority
  • With a view to contributing to the national skill development programme of the government, Srinagar to have technical school to impart skills in railway related trades along with 25 locations across the country
  • Sections to be electrified in 2012-13: Chakkibank (ex)-Bharoli-Ravi & Budhi-Ujh-Jammu Yard and Udhampur-Manwal





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