Twin border districts of Rajouri, Poonch need rail connectivity, Zulfikar tells Suresh Prabhu

Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Information Department, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali, on Saturday, urged Union Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhu to get the work on Jammu–Rajouri-Poonch Railway line started.

Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali told the railway minister that connectivity was vital for the development of the region. Mr Ali apprised the railway minister that lack of connectivity in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch has led to poor development of these areas.

Though Jammu-Poonch railway project is a long pending demand of the people of the area, he said that even in the twenty-first century Rajouri-Poonch region has no railway connectivity.

He informed Suresh Prabhu that Jammu and Kashmir shares 1001 km long Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan out of which a major portion falls in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch. “People of these areas have suffered a lot due to one or the other reason. And the Centre needs to focus on the developmental work of the Pir Panjal region.”

“The rail connectivity would provide immense relief to the people of the area as well as the forces deployed in the area. It would act as the most strategic railway line in the country.”

Zulfkar said that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during his visit to Poonch district in 2014 had announced the construction of Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch railway line but till date no action has been initiated on the project.

He said, “The railway authorities had prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for this railway line. The areas to be connected under this route, includes Akhnoor, Kaleeth, Dori Daggar, Chowki Chowra, Bhambla, Sunderbani, Nowshera and Rajouri before reaching Poonch.”

“A hope had generated among the people of Rajouri and Poonch in 2008 when survey of Jammu-Poonch railway line was taken up. The hope further brightened when it was taken up as a national project in March 2012 and cost estimation was made. But no progress has been made on it till date.”

He further added that this project would boost the economic activity in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri and will attract tourists.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu assured all possible help from Centre to connect Poonch and Rajouri with the railway network.

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