The prestigious Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Road Link (USBRL) project destined for completion in February 2024 and directed train connectivity to Kashmir would commence from the first quarter of the next year, said Shobhan Chaudhuri, General Manager Northern Railways.
Presenting the achievements of Northern Railways for last financial year, the General Manager said, “Most of the work on the USBRL project (to connect Kashmir to Kanyakumari) has been completed except two tunneling work of 200 meters in two tunnels”.
He said that the project is all set to complete in February next year paving way for proper train connectivity in the first quarter of the year.“The project is destined for completion in Feb 2023 as announced by the Minister of Railways on his visit to Chenab Bridge,” he said.
On increasing the speed of trains the GM said that portions of track on which the trains are to be operated at high speed will be provided with boundary walls to prevent crossing of tracks by cattle and humans.Moreover, he said that all manned level crossings are being replaced with Road over Bridges (ROB) and Road Under Bridges (RUB) to facilitate smooth movement of rail and road traffic.
He informed that railways are also going to run a hydrogen train in the heritage Kalka-Shimla section. This will reduce pollution in the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.
The railways minister has informed that Jammu Tawi, Srinagar, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra among 15 railway stations of Jammu and Kashmir are covered under One Station One Product (OSOP) outlets across a total 785 stations in 21 States and 3 Union Territories across the country.
As per railway officials the 15 stations included Anantnag, Awantipura , Banihal, Baramulla, Jammu Tawi, Kakapor, Kathua , Pampur, Panzgam, Pattan, Qazigund, Sadura, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, Sopore and Srinagar.As per officials, in Jammu & Kashmir area, Kashmiri Girda, Kashmiri Kahwa & Dry Fruits are famous,Honey, Dry Fruits, Saffron, Namkeen Tea, Kehwa, Handicrafts- Paper Mache, Kashmiri Shawls & Cotton items, Textiles and Handloom.
The ambitious scheme of the ministry of railways is aimed at providing opportunities to local artisans, potters, weavers, craftsmen, etc to make a living through their skills and provide them with sale outlets at railway stations across the country.
“It will also promote local handicrafts, handlooms and processed food items which are unique to the area around the railway stations. The project will provide a stable marketing platform to improve income, local employment, skills and livelihood,” said an official spokesperson.