Hopeful to complete Katra-Banihal rail link by Dec 2022: Railway Board Chairman

The attempts to connect every part of Jammu and Kashmir to the railway are underway at full speed, and the Katra-Banihal rail link project will likely to be completed by December 2022, said Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav on Friday.

“This is a very difficult project and there are a lot of hardships in the last phase because it requires the construction of a large number of tunnels and bridges. Work on the last stretch of 111 kilometres from Katra to Banihal is in progress and the project is targeted to be completed by December 2022,” said Yadav during a virtual press conference.

He said that out of the 163 kilometres of tunnels in the entire project, the national transporter has completed tunnelling work of over 126 kilometres. Further, he said, the Railways have completed the construction of over 20 out of 37 small and large bridges. It is worth mentioning that the Railways is constructing the arch bridge on Chenab river as part of the rail link project and India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge, ‘Anji Bridge’ also plays a huge role in it and it has been designed to handle heavy storms of strong winds.

Yadav said that for the completion of this project, over 250 kilometres of the road has been constructed in the region to facilitate the movement of trucks and other equipment to the construction sites. “The road will be handed over to the regional authority after the completion of the project,” Yadav said.

The Railway Board Chairman expressed the hope that the project, despite the challenges being posed due to the treacherous terrain, bad weather and troubled law and order situation and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be completed within time and will connect a large portion of the Union Territory with the rail link.