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The Planning Commission is considering the early execution of five major railway projects in the Himalayan region, as it has directed the railway ministry to prepare a blueprint of the estimate on funds, technical inputs and prospective time for their completion.
The commission now plans to allocate funds for the projects in the 12th Five Year Plan that starts from April 2012. “We will include these in the category of projects having national importance,” a senior official said. “It will enable them to raise funds,’ he told Business Standard.
A Railway official, when contacted, confirmed that the issue was under consideration of the Planning Commission.
The railway projects include the 125-km Rishikesh-Karanprayag railway line involving a project cost of Rs 4,295 crore, the 154-km Rs 2,791-crore Tanakpur-Bageshwar line (both in Uttarakhand), the Rs 13,631-crore Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch railway link covering 233 km in Jammu and Kashmir, the 498-km Bilaspur-Mandi railway link in Himachal Pradesh and the 110-km Rupai-Parasuramkund railway link in Arunachal Pradesh.
These five main railway projects are part of the 14 such Himalayan-region projects that have been hanging fire for long because of strategic issues.
Among them five were found to be feasible and of strategic importance, as it evolved from a meeting between officials from the defence ministry along with its counterparts in Railways and senior officials from the Planning Commission.
“The work on them could start during the 12th FYP,” a senior official said.