The announcement of getting frontier town Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on the railway map of the country has brought cheers to locals who hope that starting train services would not only ease their commute but also give a fillip to the trade and tourism sectors here.
The Northern Railway has revealed plans to begin work on the 50-km Baramulla-Uri railway line for which tenders have been floated, officials said on Tuesday, adding that the rail authorities were gearing up to undertake the Final Location Survey (FLS).
They said the survey would be completed within three months of awarding the tenders. The extension of the railway line from Baramulla to Uri is expected to improve connectivity to Baramulla, Srinagar and Banihal.
Locals have welcomed the move to provide railway connectivity to the border town which is 102 km from Srinagar. “We thank the L-G and Union Railway Minister for the announcement of a 50-km railway line to Uri. People will benefit a lot from it,” Mir Mushtaq, a local BJP leader, said.
He said the railway line would help in providing employment opportunities to the locals. “This is a welcome step. It will give a fillip to the trade and business sector and will also boost the tourism sector,” Mohammad Shafi, a trade leader, said.
“Business will get a boost with more people visiting the place. It will become easier to travel to Uri from any part of the country,” Shafi said, adding the railway line will provide seamless connectivity to the rest of the country and act as an alternate route to the national highway which remains cut off many times during a year.
The railway line would also be important from a strategic point of view for the transportation of troops, equipment and other supplies to forward areas of the Line of Control. Earlier this year, the Indian Army allowed tourists to visit the Kaman Aman Setu Bridge, which connects the Kashmir Valley to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The 220-ft bridge is treated as the LoC between India and Pakistan whose access is controlled by soldiers on both sides.
The Indian Army is now promoting the area close to LoC as a tourist spot. However, the gates of the bridge have been locked since India suspended the Srinagar-Muzaffarbad bus service between Kashmir and PoK in February 2019 when 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terrorist attack in Pulwama.