January 2016 News

Centre Moots Re-alignment Of Pathankot-Jammu Rail Line

17 January 2016
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: The Railways Ministry in consultations with Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Ministry of Finance was mulling a proposal for re-alignment of Pathankot-Jammu railway line in view of sensitivity of the track due to strategic view points, whose major portion falls within heavy arms firing of Pakistan. Official sources told the Excelsior that top officials of the three Ministries would hold joint survey of the track and submit report to their concerned Ministers after which the three Ministers would jointly take a call on the new proposal, which was mooted after reports by the security agencies following reports that vast portion of the existing railway track from Pathankot to Jammu was within the range of heavy fire arms of Pakistan. 'As Union Ministry for Roads and Surface Transport was about to carry out survey work on Rs 15,000 crores worth project for construction of first ever Expressway from New Delhi to Katra via Amritsar, the security agencies have raked up the issue of railway track also on the ground that both Expressway and track should be constructed in such a way that they didn't fall within the firing range of Pakistan,' sources said. They added that the security agencies have already stressed that alignment of the Expressway should be conceived after taking into consideration the strategic view point to make it completely safe in case of any eventuality from Pakistan. 'At the same time, the security agencies have also called for fresh alignment of Pathankot-Jammu railway track keeping in view its strategic nature and sensitivity as its majority portion was well within the firing range of Pakistan in case of hostility,' sources pointed out. According to sources, the Railways Ministry was not averse to the proposal and want the Ministries of Defence and Finance also on the board to fund the project equally as the project was also their cause of concern. They said the top brass of the three Ministries was expected to deliberate on the issue very soon after which the Ministers would meet and take final call. Security agencies have suggested that since survey for New Delhi-Katra Expressway via Amritsar is being undertaken by the Union Ministry for Road and Surface Transport, a simultaneous survey can also be undertaken for the new railway line. They stressed that both the projects can be designed in such a way that not only they are close to each other but are far away from the range of even heavy fire arms to ensure safety of the Expressway and the new rail line in case of any eventuality from Pakistan side. It may be mentioned here that the Centre Government has proposed construction of first ever Expressway between New Delhi to Katra via Amritsar at an estimated cost of Rs 15,000 crores. The Centre further proposed to take the Expressway to Srinagar. The Expressway would cover several parts of Haryana and Punjab while reaching up to Katra from New Delhi on way to Srinagar, sources said.