Of 272 km Udhampur-Baramulla rail link, 161 km commissioned: Lok Sabha

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The Centre on Wednesday said out of the total 272 km Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link, 161 km has already been commissioned, while Rs 26,786 crore expenditure has been incurred till March 2022 out of the anticipated cost of Rs 37,012 crore.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Railways Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw said that 272 km Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link (USBRL) project was sanctioned in 1994-95.

He said the anticipated cost of the project is Rs 37,012  crore, against which, expenditure of Rs 26,786 crore has been incurred up to March, 2022 on the project.

“Out of the total 272 km length of USBRL project, length of 161 Km has already been commissioned. Work on balance stretch of Katra-Banihal section of 111 km has been taken up,” he said.

He also said the completion of any Railway projects depends on various factors like quick land acquisition by State Government, forest clearance by officials of forest department, deposition of cost by State Government in cost sharing projects, shifting of infringing utilities, statutory clearances from various authorities, geological and topographical conditions of area, law and order situation in the area of projects site, number of working months in a year for particular project site due to climatic considerations etc. “All these factors affect the completion time of the projects.”

On whether the government is likely to increase the number of trains deployed to Kashmir with the completion of USBRL project, he said at present, 19 passenger special train services are running on Baramulla-Budgam-Banihal section of USBRL Project.

Moreover, introduction of new train services or extension of existing train services is an ongoing process over Indian Railways subject to traffic demand, operational feasibility and availability of rolling stock.

On whether the government is proposing to provide transport linkages to tourist destinations nearby the USB rail link, the minister said the new line projects are considered on the basis of demands raised by state governments, central ministries, member of parliament, other public representatives and Railways’ own requirements. “As receipt of such proposals is a continuous and ongoing process, centralized compendium of such requests is not maintained.”

He added the proposals are taken up on the basis of remunerativeness, last mile connectivity, augmentation of congested/saturated lines, socioeconomic considerations, missing links and alternate routes including connectivity to tourist destinations etc., depending upon liabilities of ongoing projects, overall availability of funds and competing demands which is a continuous and ongoing process. (KNO)

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