PM Inaugurates Vital Rail Link from Jammu Region to Kashmir Valley

Wednesday, 26 June 2013, 13:23 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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Jammu and Kashmir: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened India's longest rail tunnel in Kashmir to provide a key link between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region, even as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that Kashmiris were fed up with violence.

Hours before ending a two-day visit to the troubled state, Manmohan Singh rode with school children on the inaugural run of the train through the 10.96-km-long tunnel to link Qazigund town in the valley with Banihal in Jammu region.

The prime minister warmly shook hands with the overjoyed children and sat with them as the diesel train made its way from Banihal through the winding tunnel, an engineering marvel that took seven years to come up in a mountainous region.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and central Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former chief minister, were with the prime minister in the train.

After reaching Qazigund, Manmohan Singh went back on the same train to Banihal where he told a meeting attended by hundreds of people that the new train link will boost Jammu and Kashmir's economic development.

“Today, we are dedicating a marvellous and wonderful feat of engineering crafted across the Himalayas," he said. "This is not just an engineering marvel, but an all weather link between the valley and the rest of Jammu and Kashmir.

"This will usher in a new era in the development of the state, providing welfare and employment to the people here."

The rail bridge between Udhampur and Banihal -- the train runs through the Pir Panjal mountain range -- is the highest in the world.

The tunnel was built at a cost of 1,300 crores. An eight-coach train will operate on the route from June 27. The link cuts the distance between Qazigund and Banihal towns by 18 km.

“I want to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that (my) government will extend all possible support for the development of the people here," the prime minister said.

Also Read: Indian PM Spends a Whopping 642 Crore on Travel
Also Read: IAF 'Women Air Warriors' Prove Their Mettle in Uttarakhand Rescue

Source: IANS
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