Terming Railways as partners in promoting tourism and handicrafts of the State, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly pitched for early completion of Katra-Banihal track on the Baramulla-Jammu railway line.
“If Kashmir Valley gets a dedicated connectivity link round the clock. This would not only connect the areas but also remove the psychological barriers between the regions and their people,” she said addressing a gathering after she jointly inaugurated the five halt points on the Baramulla-Banihal Railway track here today. Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu also attended the inauguration.
These five halt stations were announced by the Railway Ministry recently on the insistence of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. These halt points are at Razwan (Sanoor Kalipora) and Naidgam in Budgam district, Ratnipora in Pulwama district, Monghaal in Anantnag district and Sangdan in Kulgam district.
The Chief Minister had taken up setting of these halt points at these places with the Railway Minister to facilitate easy movement of people in these areas.
Addressing a gathering after the inauguration, the Chief Minister thanked the Railway Minister for acceding to her request to set up these halt points for the convenience of commuters. She said it was a long pending demand of the people of these areas which has been fulfilled today. She said these spots won’t just be halt points for the trains but would give boost to the economic activities in these areas.
The Chief Minister demanded setting up another halt point at Naina-Batapora in Pulwama district so that a large number of people living in the catchment areas get the opportunity and benefits of using services of Railways. She also asked for inclusion of Kashmiri cuisine into the Railway menu and promotion of art and craft of the State through its network of Stations and customer portals.
In his remarks, Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu said his Ministry is committed to the people of the State by way of promoting and linking its tourism, cuisine and handicrafts to the mainstream market and customer portal of the country. He thanked the State Government for extending all help in laying down of Railway infrastructure in the State.
Terming the formal inauguration of these halt points as Eidee from him, the Railway Minister said many more initiatives by his Ministry for developing State’s economy and connectivity are in the pipeline. He hoped these initiatives would herald a new chapter of growth, employment and prosperity for the people of the State. He said Railways would play its role as a tourism promoter for the State dedicatedly.
Suresh Prabhu said Glass Top trains would soon be run on the Baramulla-Banihal Rail track so that tourists can explore and enjoy the beauty of Kashmir. He said the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd. has been asked to include Kashmiri cuisine in their food menu being served on board. Similarly he said, the Kashmiri handicrafts and artifacts would be put on display at all the Railway Stations across the country. He also said Kullu-Leh rail link would be explored for execution.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh; Ministers; MPs, legislators; senior officers of Northern Railways and officers of State Government were present on the occasion.