The Railway Budget has ‘Nothing’ for Jammu and Kashmir

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Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today that Jammu and Kashmir is to witness faster rail network growth. He also spoke about connectivity to be provided to all the Northeastern states.

“Indian Railways is committed for faster rail network in Jammu and Kashmir. The rail connectivity between Jammu region and the Kashmir valley through the Banihal tunnel provides all-weather connectivity with the rest of the country,” he said in his budget address. Prabhu said the commissioning of Udhampur-Katra was “like a dream come true for millions of pilgrims”.

There is however no clarity on how the state’s railway network is going to benefit from this budget. The state of Jammu and Kashmir had great expectations with Modi government’s rail budget but as it turns out, it was a major let down. Let alone providing new trains and improving facilities in the existing infrastructure at Jammu and Katra, the fulfillment of old promises has not been assured by Railways Minister, Suresh Prabhu.

In the last budget, a promise was made to survey the Jammu-Poonch railway route but the current budget holds no reassurance to fasten the incomplete work.

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What is curious to note here is that the said route of Jammu-Poonch has been proposed for decades but it has always been disappointingly delayed. The modernization of newly inaugurated Katra Railway station has also not been addressed. 

Although Jammu-Banihal tunnel has been mentioned in the budget saying only that the area needed the railway network. How and when the said network will be worked upon was not briefed at all.