Rawat Demands Expansion of Rail Network in Uttarkhand

Rawat Demands Expansion of Rail Network in Uttarkhand

Chief Minister Harish Rawat today demanded expansion of railway network in Uttarakhand in view of the strategic importance of the state which shares borders with China and Nepal.

In a detailed proposal submitted to Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, Rawat sought immediate implementation of projects sanctioned for Uttarakhand in the last Rail budget and clearance to new ones in the next, besides additional facilities in trains bound for different destinations in the state known for its tourism potential and places of religious significance.

"Tourists and pilgrims, more than double the total population of Uttarakhand, visit the state every year. Strategically too the state is very important sharing borders with China and Nepal. China has expanded the road and rail network at a phenomenal pace over the past few years.

"Hence, it is necessary that we expand the rail network in Uttarakhand not only for the convenience of tourists and pilgrims coming from all over the country and abroad but also from the strategic point of view," a statement said, quoting Rawat.

Pointing out that Gairsain in Chamoli district is being developed as the summer capital of the state, the Chief Minister demanded early start of work on construction of Ramnagar-Chaukhutiya rail route project sanctioned in the last rail budget.

Considering Chaukhutiya's proximity to Gairsain, the project acquires great importance both strategically and in terms of convenience, the Chief Minister said. He also demanded early implementation of Rishikesh-Karnaprayag, Tanakpur-Bageshwar and Muzaffarnagar-Roorkee rail routes.

Demanding a new rail route between Saharanpur-Dehradun, the Chief Minister said currently trains coming to Dehradun have to take a circuitous route through Saharanpur, Roorkee, Haridwar and Luxor.

The new route through Herbertpur (Vikasnagar) will be of great benefit to the tribal people residing in Yamuna Ghati and Chakrata-Tyuni areas besides decongesting the Haridwar route.

Rawat also demanded additional coaches and chair cars in some well-known trains coming to Uttarakhand including Delhi-Dehradun Jana Shatabdi, Delhi-Kathgodam/Ramnagar Sampark Kranti and Anand Vihar-Kathgodam Shatabdi Express trains. "The twin-tracking of the Laksar-Roorkee-Haridwar rail line was extremely important, but remained pending. Because of this, the necessary electrification of the track is also hanging fire," Rawat said.

In the proposal, the Chief Minister mentioned about an announcement made in the previous Railway Budget on the Haridwar-Kotdwar-Ramnagar direct link.

"The Railways have also completed the survey on the Kashipur-Najibabad via Dhampur rail line. In the public interest it is necessary to clear this project so that the line could be used to connect Tanakpur with Dehradun," he said.

Apart from this, announcements had also been made on conducting surveys on the Rishikesh-Doiwala direct link, and Haldwani-Chorgaliya, Haldwani-Reetha Sahib, Piran Kaliyar-Roorkee/Haridwar, Dehradun-Purola (along the Yamuna), Dehradun-Kalsi and Tanakpur-Jauljivi railway lines, which ought to be implemented, Rawat said.

The Chief Minister also sought non-stop express trains from Dehradun and Kathgodam/Ramnagar to New Delhi, as well as a direct train from Ramnagar to New Delhi.

The CM pointed out that use of the Meerut-Mawana-Bijnor-Najibabad rail route to connect Kotdwar with Delhi would save 8 hours journey time, instead of the present Gajraula route.

He sought introduction of additional first AC and AC chair cars on the Delhi-Dehradun Jan Shatabdi, Delhi-Kathgodam/Ramnagar Sampark Kranti and Anand Vihar-Kathgodam Shatabdi trains.

He also demanded a first AC bogey or half 1st and 2nd AC bogey on the Ranikhet Express for Ramnagar.

He also asked the Railway Minister for international level modernisation and upgrading of the Dehradun, Haridwar, Roorkee, Kotdwar, Ramnagar, Kathgodam and Rudrapur railway stations, taking their tourism and pilgrimage importance into consideration.

Along with this, he demanded daily train services from Kathgodam/Ramnagar to Amritsar and Jammu Tawi to serve the historic pilgrim sites of Nanak Matta Gurudwar, Champwats' Reetha-Meetha Sahib and Purnagiri Devi.

He also sought Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi Express to connect Chandigarh/Amritsar with Kathgodam/Ramnagar.

Underlining the difficulties in improving the vastly crowded pilgrim and tourism routes connecting places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Piran Kaliyar, the CM suggested the implementation of major projects in PPP mode.

An elevated railway line could be built in PPP mode on the Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh route, which would provide better services to tourists. It would prove profitable from the FDI point of view also, he said.

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