At a brief ceremony held at Rail Bhawan through video conferencing here today, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh flagged off two fast passenger trains with limited stops from Banihal to Baramulla.
Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti simultaneously flagged off the limited-stop DMU (diesel multiple unit) from south Kashmir’s Anantnag.
Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Prabhu said, work on Jammu and Kashmir rail track between is proceeding on fast track. He said ,the much-awaited fast passenger trains flagged off in the Valley today will cut down travel time and also reduce the rush of passengers during peak hours. To begin with, he said, these trains will have 12 bogies each.
Prabhu also disclosed that these two passenger trains will make four trips and the biggest beneficiaries will be the commuters travelling from Anantnag to Srinagar as the trains will not halt at any station between these two places.
Prabhu recalled that the Railways had initially planned to launch these two fast trains in January, but due to sad demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the launch had to be deferred. He also disclosed that in the near future, the frequency of these trains will be increased in future and additional coaches also will be added.
Dr Jitendra Singh, who was guest of honor on the occasion, thanked the Ministry of Railways for what he described as “triple gift” for people of Kashmir … … firstly this will bring convenience by reducing the journey time, secondly this will be more economical since the Railway fare is competitively lower and thirdly it will also generate revenue for the local people because every tourist visiting the Valley would like to have the pleasant experience of at least one journey on this beautiful rail stretch.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, a romantic rail journey in the scenic Valley of Paradise is an experience which cannot be felt unless one goes through it and added that he was envious of the friends and colleagues who were attending the ceremony from Anantnag and who were scheduled to undertake a brief rail trip after the inaugural programme. He said, he was sure that in the times to come, just as Kashmir has innumerable, matchless tourist spots to offer for visitors from all over the world, the experience of this beautiful rail journey will also become an essential part of the tourist itinerary for every visitor.
Referring to the Modi Government’s commitment to accord high priority for developmental works in Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Jitendra Singh said today’s quantum expansion in rail network is a reiteration of Prime Minister’s resolve to bring up peripheral States like Jammu & Kashmir and Northeast at par with the rest of the country.
Also present at the ceremony at New Delhi were Chairman Railway Board A.K. Mital, Member (Traffic) Mohd. Jamshed and MPs Thupsthan Chhewang, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Mir Mohammad Fayaz.