No funds crunch for J&K rail challenge

With Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal all set to present the Rail Budget in Parliament on Tuesday, at least one of the ministry’s biggest projects, the Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link won’t be worried over fund allocation.

The ambitious project has already been declared a “project of national importance” in March 2012 and the officials and engineers involved in it say that fund should not be a problem for its work.
Come 2018, when this project is scheduled for completion, it is expected to change the face of the troubled state with a 345-kilometre-long stretch that traverses through one of the most difficult terrain in the world.
The project has thrown up many engineering challenges such as the construction of the world’s tallest railway bridge as well as India’s longest tunnel.
It is expected to provide all-weather and reliable connectivity to the far-flung areas of the state right up to Bramulla near the India-Pakistan border. It will have the world’s tallest rail bridge, Chenab Bridge, expected to be complete by 2016.
Described as the “marvel of engineering”, it will have a height of 359 metres above the riverbed. This means, it will be five times the height of the Qutub Minar and 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower.
Speaking to a group of journalists on a recent trip to the project site organised by the Northern railway, Chief administrative officer of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link B.D. Garg described the rail link as “the biggest project in the construction of a mountain railway since Independence.”
According to Mr Garg, the rail link, which is expected to make a big socio-economic impact in the state, is the “most challenging and the most difficult” project ever taken up by the Indian Railways.
“Our work stops when there is curfew in the Valley. But, we are getting complete cooperation from the state government,” he said.

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