Railway Minister Shri Piyush Goyal reviews progress of ongoing Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link project

Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister for Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution reviewed the progress of the ongoing USBRL National Project in Jammu & Kashmir. Sh. V.K. Yadav, CEO & Chairman Railway Board and Sh. Ashutosh Gangal, General Manager Northern Railway were also present in the meeting held via video conferencing. Sh. Vijay Sharma, Chief Administrative Officer/ Construction USBRL Project apprised the Hon’ble Minister about the latest status of work on the last leg of the project between Katra-Banihal.

  • Expressing satisfaction on the progress the project Minister of Railways said that the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir has to be fulfilled by completing the project so that the region gets a good transportation system to remain connected to the rest of the country all the year round. 
  • He called upon the engineers working on the project to expedite the remaining portion on mission mode. 

Image credit: Northern Railway

  • He also instructed them to complete the procurement of materials and permission procedures on time so that there is no delay in the construction of the line.
  • Sh. Ashutosh Gangal, GM, Northern Railway shared with the Minister that in spite of Ramban and Reasi districts where the project is under-construction being declared as Covid Red and Orange zones the work on the projects continued following the Covid-19 SOPs. 
  • Artisans camps and isolation centers have been provided on sites. 
  • 366 people working on the various points had been detected with the virus, but all have recovered well.

About the Project:

  • The USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link) is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of a broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with rest of the country. 
  • The all-weather, comfortable, convenient and cost effective mass transportation system will be the catalyst for the overall development of the northernmost alpine region of the country. 
  • Construction of the first three phases of the project has been completed and the line is in operational use for running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region. 
  • Work on the intervening 111 Km section Katra-Banihal, the most arduous and treacherous portion due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges is ongoing. 
  • There are several iconic bridges and tunnels coming up in this section. 
  • Most of the rail track is slated to be in tunnels or bridges in this section. 
  • In the absence of an effective surface transport system in this in-hospitable region, Railways had to first lay access roads to the tune of 205 Km to reach the construction sites.
  • Three agencies; IRCON, KRCL and Northern Railway with extensive experience in construction of rail lines are involved in this project. 
  • Many international agencies and premier Indian institutes like IIT Roorkee, IIT Delhi, DRDO and Geological Survey of India are providing expertise in planning and implementation. 
  • Several sets of tunnelling machineries and cranes have also been imported.
  • Presently 95% of the Arch work of the Chenab Bridge, world’s tallest railway bridge is complete, while the work on the Anji bridge, an asymmetric cable stayed bridge is on in full swing.  
  • 81.21Km of the total 97.64 Km main tunnelling and 53.50 Km out of 60.5 Km escape tunnel works have been completed. 
  • 12 mega and 10 minor bridges have been completed. 
  • Laying of the remaining 12 mega bridges and one more minor bridge is to be completed by 2021-22.

Source: PIB-Press Release | Main Image Credit: MoR