“The better rail connectivity will provide opportunities to local artisans, traders and students alike,” said Gowda.

He also expressed gratitude towards Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the Prime Minister for making the project successful.

Asserting that the new rail link will speed up the process of development in the state, the Prime Minister said, “When progress takes place at one place, some people at other places feel neglected ... as the Chief Minister has said about the apprehensions of the people of Jammu city.”

“I want to assure the people of Jammu that their interests will be protected. I do not believe anybody will come to Katra and not visit Jammu city,” said Modi.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also thanked Modi for inaugurating the railway track from Udhampur to Katra and expressed hope that the state’s demand for extension of the railway link to various areas would be accommodated for the larger economic and developmental interests of the state.

The Railway Minister will present his maiden Rail Budget in the Parliament on July 8. The Centre has already hiked the fares for passenger travel and freight transportation.

The train connectivity to Katra is part of the ambitious Kashmir rail link project that will connect the Kashmir Valley with rest of the country. The last link between Katra and Banihal pass is expected to be completed by 2018.

The 25-km long Udhampur-Katra line, commissioned after prolonged delays, has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,132.75 crore.


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