Date of Post : 27 June, 2017
Manali: The Railways will kick off the final location survey of the 498 kilometer Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line at Leh in Jammu & Kashmir this week.
Coming up at a high of 3,300 metres, the strategically important railway project is touted to become the highest rail track in the world.
The all-weather Leh rail network is one of the four important railway connectivities identified by the defence ministry along the China border.
- Suresh Prabhu, Railway minister, will inaugurate the work for the final location survey on June 27 at an estimated cost of Rs 157.77 crore (approx US$ 24.65 Million).
- The survey is funded by the defence ministry.
- The proposed new railway line will connect all important locations between Bilaspur & Leh namely
- Sunder Nagar Mandi
- The final location survey has been entrusted to RITES, a Railways PSU.
- A senior Railway Ministry official said,”RITES has deployed its expert team to carry out this challenging task. The survey will be carried out in three phases and is slated to be completed by 2019.”
- At present, the road route is open only for about 5 months in a year.
- Apart from strategic considerations, the line connecting Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir is expected to give immense “socio-economic benefits” to the region, including tourism.
- The defence ministry had initiated railway line projects along China, Nepal & Pakistan borders as strategic lines.
- 14 strategic lines have been identified, out of which 4 – Bilaspur-Manali-Leh, Missamari-Tenga-Tawang, North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar and Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai – will be taken up in the phase-1.
- The Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line is along Himachal – J & K border and the last 3 lines along Assam-Arunachal border.
- Once the rail line is completed, Leh will be directly connected to Himachal Pradesh & the rest of India by railway.
- Personnel & equipment will be transported more easily to the strategic military base of Leh with the commissioning of the line.