Ladakh to get train connectivity as Centre prepares Rs 99k cr rail line DPR

Arteev Sharma. Updated: 7/27/2023 1:14:42 AM Front Page

489-km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh project survey completed; 270-km length to covered in tunnels; GoI shelves 2 unfeasible rail projects for Ladakh

Jammu: The Central government has decided to connect the cold desert, Ladakh, with the rest of the country, through rail line by constructing 489-km-long Bilaspur-Manali-Leh new railway track with a whopping cost of Rs 99,201.40 crore.
In this connection, the government has also made some progress by completing the survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh new line project while the Detailed Project Report (DPR) has also been prepared.
The Railways had to shelve two rail line projects for Ladakh region, including Srinagar-Kargil-Leh new line project and Pathankot-Leh new line project after carrying out surveys on both lines, saying they failed to take forward the projects due to low traffic projections”
Responding to a query of the lone BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Jamyang Tsering Namgyal in Lok Sabha today, the Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said the survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh new line project has been completed and DPR was prepared.
Namgyal sought to know whether the government has initiated the construction of railway projects for UT of Ladakh and present status of the project.
“The alignment of new line Bilaspur-Manali-Leh (489 km) line starts – off from Beri, passes through major towns of Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Sissu, DarchaKeylong, Sarchu, Pang, Rumtse, Upshi, Kharu and terminates at Leh Terminus, connecting important towns of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
The project envisaging rail connectivity to the arid region of Ladakh will comprise 40 stations, 62 tunnels, and 206 bridges. Out of the projected 489-km-long rail line, nearly 270-km will be covered through tunnels and the entire project covers a land area of 2557.96 hectares.
There will be two important bridges on the proposed track. Out of total bridges, 114 bridges will be major bridges and 90 minor bridges. At 37 places, there will be road over bridge while 54 locations will have road under bridge.
The Union Minister also disclosed that the Railways had also conducted a survey for the 480-km-long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh new line project in 2016-17. “As per Survey report the anticipated cost of the project was Rs 55,896 crores. However, due to low traffic projections, the project could not be taken forward,” he said.
Over the Pathankot-Leh new line project, the Union Minister said the survey for 664-km-long
Pathankot-Leh new rail line was carried out in 2017-18.
“As per Survey report the anticipated cost of the project was Rs 70,308 crores. However, due to low traffic projections, the project could not be taken forward,” he said.
Pertinently, Ladakh remains cut off from the rest of the country for months together due to accumulation of snow that led to closure of two vital highways—Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road and Manali-Leh, proposed.
The work on the strategic Zojila tunnel- an all-weather connection between the Kashmir valley and the Ladakh region, and Asia’s longest tunnel, was going on a rapid pace and over 40 per cent of the drilling was completed till April this year. It is expected that the project would be completed by December 2026.
Zojila Pass, considered as a lynchpin of all-weather connectivity to Ladakh, is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway and it is the fourth highest Pass in the country.
The air travel to and fro from Ladakh is also quite expensive and the airfare remains out of the common man’s reach in summers.

Updated On 7/27/2023 1:33:23 AM

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