In a huge relief to the Kashmiris and people across the state who want to visit the valley throughout the year, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the rail link between Banihal and Qazigund this morning.
The first train on the 18-km-long stretch between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir was flagged off by the PM and Sonia. Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vora, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad were present at the occasion.
From tomorrow, common people can use this train service. The train will have 9 coaches and make five trips daily beginning at 7.10 AM from Banihal and 7.35 AM from Baramulla. The new rail link includes an 11-km-long tunnel. The entire project was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore. The new rail link will provide an all-weather connection to the Kashmir Valley, which usually remains cut off from the rest of the country during the snow fall in Winter.