STATE TIMES NEWS
BANIHAL/JAMMU: Work on a 23-km stretch from Banihal to Hingni on the prestigious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) project in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be completed by the end of June, an official said.
The USBRL project is aimed at providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity to Kashmir valley.
Out of the total 272-km USBRL project, 161 km was commissioned in phases with first phase of 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section commissioned in October 2009 followed by 18-km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25-km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.
According to Northern Railways, 93 percent work on the under-construction 111-km Banihal-Katra section has been completed. This sector has a total of 37 bridges and 35 tunnels with a length of 164 km.
“Banihal-Hingni portion of the USBRL will be ready (for operations) by June 30. The work is going on round-the-clock to achieve the deadline,” Project Manager, ABCI Infrastructure, Nadeem Shamas, told PTI. He said the sector passes through various tunnels and bridges and most of the work has been completed.
“The 765 metre-long cut and cover tunnel near Krawa village is complete in all respects. T 78 tunnel is also almost complete with Ballastless Track (BLT) laying works expected to be completed by April end. The two-km T 77D tunnel, which merges with an old tunnel having over 2.5 km length, is going through lining works and is likely to be completed next month,” he said. He said after completion of the lining works, the BLT work is scheduled to be completed by May 30 and the tunnel will be handed over to Northern Railways. The 272 km-long USBRL project was declared as a National Project in 2002 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“Of the 111-km, 53 km falls in Ramban district and 87 percent of this length is covered by tunnels. The highest railway tunnel in the country, T-49 is constructed in the district,” Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam said.
The work on the 12.758 km long T-49 tunnel, connecting Khari Aarpinchla and Sumbar, was completed on February 15 last year, surpassing the Pir Panchal tunnel of 11.2 km length constructed by USBRL on the Banihal-Qazigund section.
“Given the pace of work, we are confident that the USBRL will be completed in the set timeline. The district administration has given full support to the execution companies whether it is Northern Railways, IRCON or Konkan railway,” Islam said.
He said sometimes there are labour related issues but the administration actively resolves them to ensure that the work is not hampered.
“Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Harbans Lal, who is also collector (for the twin national projects being executed by railways and National Highway Authority of India) are getting regular feedback and keeping a close watch on the works,” he said.