Srinagar, Aug 06: In a major leap toward advancing transportation infrastructure and connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the foundation laying ceremony for the redevelopment of 508 railway stations across India. The ambitious project, part of the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme, will usher in a new era of modernization and convenience for travellers.
The redevelopment initiative, aimed at fostering seamless travel experiences, will cover three key railway stations in Jammu and Kashmir – Jammu Tawi, Udhampur, and Budgam.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, addressing the gathering at the ceremony in Budgam, emphasized the transformative impact of these developments on connectivity and accessibility.
Sinha expressed optimism that the completion of these projects by the end of the current financial year will effectively link Kashmir with Kanyakumari, uniting the valley with vital commercial hubs across the nation. The anticipated rail network expansion is set to bolster economic ties and offer new opportunities for growth.
Highlighting the benefits for local communities, Lt. Governor Sinha remarked, "This redevelopment will not only boost regional connectivity but also create avenues for the local youth, thus contributing to their development."
The Budgam railway station is poised to become a modern marvel, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including air conditioning, spacious waiting rooms, ample parking, well-maintained washrooms, and dedicated service counters. With an estimated investment of Rs 16 crore, the station's complete renovation underscores the commitment to providing top-notch passenger amenities.
Additionally, the redevelopment plan emphasizes the integration of modern passenger facilities with efficient traffic flow, inter-modal connectivity, and well-designed signage for passenger guidance. The architectural designs of these stations are set to reflect local culture and heritage, enriching the travel experience for passengers.
Lt. Governor Sinha revealed that the Railway Board has approved five pivotal projects in the Kashmir region, including the doubling of the Baramulla-Banihal Railway Line, expansion of the New Baramulla-Uri, Awantipora-Shopian, Sopore-Kupwara, and Anantnag-Bijbehara-Pahalgam Rail lines. These upcoming initiatives are anticipated to significantly enhance rail connectivity throughout the valley, ensuring improved transportation options for residents.
LG Sinha said today youth of UT are looking for better careers and with these Jammu and Kashmir is moving towards development and contributing to national development.
“Kashmir will not only get connected with railways to Kanyakumari but also with highways. Under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi, 1.50 Lakh Cr highway projects are underway in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier it would take 10-12 hours to reach Jammu from Srinagar now the same journey is taken in 5-7 hours, from Katra to New Delhi, new express highway is being constructed and it will take only 5 hours now,” he said.
Regarding air connectivity, LG Sinha said in 2020, only 32 flights were operating at Srinagar International Airport, today 126 flights are operating. We have revolutionized connectivity in the region, he said.
“From the past 4 years, with the help of the central government, we have focused on youth employment programmes and more than 6 lakh rural women have been associated with self-help groups. They are contributing their role in the development Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
LG Sinha said through a holistic development plan laid the foundations for a sea change in economic growth of the Union territory. He also asserted that this decade of the agriculture and horticulture sector belongs to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Under this scheme apart from the budget, the administration will provide 513 Cr in next five years in these twin sectors. With this it will also increase the GDP of the J&K as more than 70 per cent population is associated with horticulture and agriculture,” he said.
The Lt. Governor said the pace of developmental works at present has never been witnessed in past even as he called upon the people to isolate the forces who want to take the nation back.
LG Sinha said academic calendar is being followed in universities, colleges and schools. Earlier people used to leave Srinagar to reach their homes now people are spending time with families till late night hours as peace prevails.
“The biggest thing that has changed after the abrogation of Article 370 is that the common man is living his life freely,” he said, adding that people are having a sigh of relief from violence.
LG Sinha said now taxi drivers, rickshaw owners and shikara owners or any other people in different sectors, people are taking benefit of peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In the first seven months of this year, 1.27 Cr tourists have visited J&K so far and hope that it will cross over 2.25 Crore by the end of this year. The successful meeting has boosted tourism in Kashmir,” he said.