PM to flag off first train in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Oct 8: It will be a dream come true for the people of the Kashmir valley when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will flag off first train on Saturday, Oct 11. Even though connecting the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country through train remains a distant dream, the people in the valley look forward to see a train running through their fields.

Official sources said Dr Singh will arrive here on Saturday, Oct 11 from Jammu, where he is scheduled to inaugurate the 450 MW Baglihar hydroelectric project in Doda region on Friday, Oct 10.

The DMU (diesel multiple unit) train will connect the Srinagar with the central Kashmir. Though a small distance, it will, not only fulfill the decades-old dream of the people to see a train in their life time running on Kashmir soil, but will generate a new hope that Kashmir will be connected with the rest of the country one day.

However, the commercial use of the train will take some time to start.

They said, immediately after Dr Singh's arrival here from Jammu, he will be briefted about the ongoing work on the railway project.

Dr Singh will flag off the train from Srinagar station at Nowgam, about ten km from here to Badgam on Saturday.

As a symbolic gesture, Dr Singh will board the train from Nowgam station, which is being considered most modern in the country.

The station is a stunning three-storeyed building which has beautifully carved wooden paneling and chandeliers and is surrounded by landscaped gardens.

Sources said work was going on-a war footing on Qazigund to Srinagar and Srinagar and Baramulla tracks to connect south Kashmir with the north.

Sources said on Friday Dr Singh will inaugurate the 450 MW Baglihar hydroelectric project in Doda in Jammu region. This will be the second power project to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. In April this year, he inaugurated the Dul Hasti power project constructed by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).

Despite all odds and objection raised by Pakistan, the project was finally completed after a Swiss national and professor Raymond Lafitee of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne gave a go ahead to it with minor modifications in the model.

Mr Raymond was appointed by the World Bank in 2005 after Pakistan opposed the project on the ground that it will diverl water away from its territory in violation of 1960 Indus Water Treaty between the two countries.

The project, which has an installed capacity of 900 MW when completed, was conceived in 1992, approved in 1996 and finally the construction started in 1999.

The project, estimated to cost one billion dollars, is very crucial to ensure the sustainable development of the economy of the the state.

Jammu and Kashmir is presently importing 1.35 crore units of power from different states at a cost of Rs 10 per unit. However, it sells at Rs 0.90 paisa to Rs 2.00 per unit to its consumers.

UNI

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