Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rail link to promote progress

Pir Panjal Rail tunnel is a historic gift to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It will immensely help promote economy, interaction and education of the people of both the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region of the state. This is the third largest tunnel in Asia and the first in India. Before the Pir Panjal tunnel, Jawahar Tunnel is already there, though it is not as large as this one. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi dedicated Pir Panjal Railway tunnel to the nation. This is a long dream of the people of Jammu and Kashmir full-filled. It was a very arduous task for the railways to complete with total success. Indian railways’ chief characteristic is to connect one corner to another of the nation. They have done it again by linking the Valley to the Jammu region straightway through Pir Panjal tunnel. Railways have done it successfully. The credit goes to Indian railways, all its personnel, engineers, officials, labourers and ministry involved with the construction of Pir Panjal tunnel and to the government of India for fulfilling the long-cherished dream of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Days after eight soldiers were killed in a militant attack in Srinagar, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi used the opening of the historic train link connecting the Kashmir Valley to the Jammu region to reaffirm the government’s commitment to Kashmir’s development. It is true that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are fed up of bloodshed. The youth want jobs. The successive government at the Centre wants Kashmir’s future to be written with secularism, development and democracy, where problems are solved through dialogue. But the disruptive and secessionist forces raise their head in the state time and again. The successive government at the Centre have failed to resolve the issue of terrorism once and for all time to come. It was the first visit to the state by Singh and Sonia after Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged. Maximum security was put in place to avert any bad omen. The 17.5 km link between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in the Valley is the first all-weather route between the two regions. Touted as the UPA’s flagship project that showcases the reconstruction of Jammu and Kashmir, the stretch has a 11-km-long tunnel through the mighty Pir Panjal range.The only existing link on this route, the Jawahar Tunnel meant for road transport and opened in 1965, gets blocked in winter due to heavy snow. The rail tunnel runs 300 metres below Jawahar Tunnel and is shielded from the harsh winter.

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