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Udhampur-Baramullah rail link delayed to 2009

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
February 24, 2006 22:32 IST
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The long-awaited rail link between Udhampur and Baramullah will take another three years, according to Joginder P Batra, chairman of the Railway Board. He was speaking at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.

While launching the project, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had promised the Kashmiri people that on August 15, 2007, the Indian Railways would reach the Valley.

The Railways has asked for Rs 2092 crore for the current year from the Ministry of Finance. "This is the prime minister's project and the fund allocation comes directly from the finance minister. The Jammu-Udhampur line is already operational and, in the next stage, Udhampur Katra will be linked by the end of this year."

Batra said the project has been delayed because of the difficult terrain and tunnels have to be made by cutting through solid mountains, particularly in the Quzigund and Baramullah sectors.

"I can tell you categorically that we will not be able to meet the deadline of August 15, 2007. It will be completed only by 2009," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi