Railway Minister Lays Foundation Stone for Final Location Survey on Famed Char Dham Pilgrimage Route

DEHRADUN: In a major welcome news for Uttarakhand, railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday laid the foundation at Badrinath for the final location survey for single broad gauge line rail connectivity on char dham yatra. After the declaration of all-weather road for char dham by the BJP government, the move is being termed an effort to connect the char dham route with rail.
Prabhu, who first flew to Kedarnath to offer prayers, came to Badrinath in a chopper to pay obeisance.
Later, in the presence of CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, he laid the foundation stone for the ambitious project worth Rs 43, 292 crore. The route length of 327-km is likely to have 21 new station, 61 tunnels, totalling of 279-km tunnel length and 59 bridges.
On the occasion, Prabhu said, “The project will benefit the tourists as well as the locals. It will help people in the hills travel from one place to another.” He reiterated that the Centre was committed to connecting the char dham through rail. The minister further stated that rail on the char dham route will open more job avenues for the locals.
Prabhu further said that people from all parts of the country want to come to Uttarakhand for the char dham yatra. He termed that latest technology would be used to bring rail to the hills and the project would be completed without harming the environment. The minister maintained that a part of the budget for the project would be used to save environment and prevent landslides.
The CM termed it a historic moment that “would be remembered in Uttarakhand for a long time.” He said, “The BJP government at the Centre and the state is determined to take the path of progress and the project is a positive step in this regard.”
The final location survey was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 120.92 crore in the budget 2017-18. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a public sector enterprise under the ministry of Railways has been entrusted to undertake the final location survey for rail connectivity to char dham and chardham yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath).
An alignment will pass through the rugged mountains of the Himalayas, the Railway has to meet the challenges of railway construction integrating the unique challenges of terrain and adverse geology along with limits of load, capacity, safety and speed.
RVNL has undertaken a Reconnaissance Engineering Survey (REC) in 2014-15 and submitted its report in October 2015, recommending two take-off points one from existing Doiwala station and one from Karnprayag station (under construction). For the Gangotri alignment, the proposed rail link takes off from Doiwala station to connect up to Manneri at 1270 metre above MSL making a route of 131-km via Uttarkashi. For Yamunotri, the alignment is proposed to take off midway from Gangotri link at Uttarkashi making a “Y” connection and termination at Palar with a take off route length of 22-km.
For the Kedarnath alignment, the proposed line will take off from proposed Karnprayag station and termination at Sonprayag, at a height of 1,650 metres, via Saikot with a route length of 99-km. The Badrinath alignment will take of midway from Joshimath with a route length of 75-km.
On the occasion, CM handed over a letter to the rail minister. The letter contained the request for extension of rail routes in the Kumaon region.

Source: The Times of India