PM Modi flags off first Katra-Udhampur train, calls it a ‘gift for the nation’

SRINAGAR: In the next ten years Katra will become the fulcrum of economic development in Jammu & Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday after he flagged off the inaugural train from Katra in Jammu, the base camp for Vaishno Devi shrine. The Prime Minister flagged off the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) which had school children aboard at around 9.55am today from Katra Railway station to Udhampur.Suggesting the name Shreeshakti Express for the train, Narendra Modi said the train is a gift not just for people of J&K but for the whole of India.”This rail connectivity will provide speed to J&K and the power project will provide energy to the state,” PM said referring to the two inaugurations.”Development of J&K is the desire of all Indians and the government will do everything to achieve it,” Modi said.
Prime Minister also assured that the development of Jammu will not be neglected.We will take forward the journey of development started by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the PM said.Earlier, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the new rail link and said that it will help the pilgrims to Vaishno Devi.
Katra-Udhampur rail line is around 25 kilometres long and consists of the 9.4 kilometres long Udhampur-Chak Rakhwal and 15.5 kilometers long Chak Rakhwal-Mata Vaishno Devi Katra sections.

The approximate cost of this section is Rs 1,132 crore. The bridge on River Jhajjar is the longest steel girder bridge in India with a height of 85 metres. There are 8 tunnels and 29 minor bridges on Udhampur-Katra track.

Meanwhile, authorities on Friday imposed restrictions in parts of the city to prevent any law and order situation in view of the separatists’ strike call against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, M R Gunj and Safakadal police station areas of the city as a precautionary measure, a senior police official said.


An aerial view of the Katra railway station in Jammu (PTI Photo)

He said the restrictions were imposed as there was apprehension about some persons creating trouble during the Prime Minister’s visit to the state today.

Security personnel stand guard in a village close to the LoC (PTI Photo)

Elsewhere in the city, police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength to ensure that Modi’s visit passes off peacefully, the official said.

During his visit to the state today, the Prime Minister is to inaugurate a rail link to put Katra on the railway map and address a Sanik Samelan here.

Meanwhile, normal life across the valley was disrupted due to the strike call given by all the three factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF against Modi’s visit.

Schools, colleges, business establishments, banks and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport remained off the roads due to the strike.

However, few private cars and cabs ferrying tourists could be seen plying on the roads in the city.

(Inputs from PTI)

Udhampur-Katra rail link

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the much-awaited Udhampur-Katra train service that will benefit millions of devotees who visit the Vaishno Devi shrine every year. (ANI photo)

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