CM meets Railway Minister, seeks early completion of Katra-Banihal sections

Srinagar:  Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who is in the national capital, called on the Railway Minister, Piyush Goel here today. She brought several issues of the State pertaining to Railways with the Union Minister and sought their early redressal.

The Chief Minister strongly pitched for early completion of Katra-Banihal section of Jammu-Baramulla railway line to connect the State with rest of the country through an all-weather link. She also sought extension of rail link upto Kupwara in Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu province.

The Union Minister issued on the spot instructions to the Railway Ministry for a review and advancement of the completion date of the Katra-Banihal section of the Jammu-Baramulla railway line.

Agreeing in principle to the extension of rail link to Kupwara in Kashmir province and Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu province, Piyush Goel informed the Chief Minister that preliminary survey in this regard has been completed and the project is being examined for funding in the Central Government.

The demand for extension of rail link, it may be mentioned here, came during frequent visits Chief Minister conducted of Kupwara and Pir Panchal areas.

The Union Minister also informed Mehbooba Mufti that Railways would run cold store containers from Jammu to other parts of the country to ferry horticulture produce from the State. It was agreed upon in the meeting that the Secretary, Horticulture would pursue the matter with the Railway authorities in this regard.

Jammu & Kashmir being a tourist State, Mehbooba Mufti also sought running of more trains from Jammu to Mumbai, Kolkatta and Ahmedabad to get more tourists to the State. The Union Minister informed her that his Ministry has started a weekly train-Humsafar- from Kolkatta to Jammu in view of the tourist rush from the area.  It was decided in the meeting that the Secretary, Tourism and Member, Traffic of the Railway Board would jointly explore the possibilities in this regard.

Piyush Goel assured all support from his Ministry to boost tourism in the State. He also informed the Chief Minister that specially designed trains would soon chug from Jammu to Katra while as such trains would be introduced in Kashmir from next spring.

The Chief Minister also raised other issues like giving employment to locals by IRCON, a halt station at Naina Batpora, expediting work on other halt stations on the Banihal-Baramulla railway line and transfer back of land at Banihal for constructing a stadium there.

The Union Minister assured the Chief Minister of a positive approach and substantive action by his Ministry on the demands raised by the Chief Minister.

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