Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said the Udhampur-Srinagar railway link will provide a dependable, modern and all weather communication system for the people of the state.

"This (railway link) and the four-laning of National Highway from Lakhanpur to Srinagar are the prestigious projects cherished by the people for a long time," Omar said after inspecting the pace of work on the two projects at Qazigund in Anantnag district on Monday.

Omar underlined the significance of these communication links for the socio-economic development of the state. The chief minister said good road communication in a state like Jammu and Kashmir is all the more important due to its geographical diversity, hilly terrain and remoteness.

He said the rail communication was meant to provide alternate and all weather commuting facility for the people and trans-shipment of goods, including fruit and vegetables from the state.

Both the projects of four-laning of the National Highway and Railway link between Jammu and Srinagar would help generate wide-ranging economic activities for the people in the state, he added.

The chief minister inspected the Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel (T-80) connecting Jammu to Kashmir Valley through Pir Panjal mountain range. The 11km Pir Panjal Tunnel is the longest rail tunnel in India located between the Banihal in South and Qazigund in North.

Presenting the status report of the project, the Railway officials informed the Chief Minister that the Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway project of Indian Railways has been declared a National Project and it envisages construction of large number of tunnels and bridges to be implemented in highly, rugged and mountainous terrains with most difficult Himalayan geology.

The alignment also crosses deep gorges of Chenab River. The 359-meter bridge over River Chenab will be the highest bridge in the world and longest span of Rail line with each span of 467 meters.

The total length of the bridge is 1,315 meters coming up at a cost of Rs 512 crore. The chief minister also inspected 9 km-long tunnel at Qazigund being constructed by National Highway Authority of India under the four-laning of National Highway project between Lakhanpur to Srinagar.



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