Shimla, Nov 23: Himachal Pradesh is looking forward to its the most significant rail link in its history.
The ambitious Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Mandi- Manali-Leh Railway Project is making headway, with the Ministry of Railways having sanctioned Rs 81 lakh for Reconnaisance Engineering-cum-Traffic surveys for construction of new broad gauge railway line from Bilaspur to Leh via Kullu-Manali.
The survey of 480 km Bilaspur-Leh rail link may take about two years.
Besides this, the case of Pathankot-Jogindernagar Railway line will be put upto UNESCO for the grant of World Heritage Site status to this railway track like the Kalka-Shimla line.
It has been due to the relentless efforts of the State Government which emphatically took up the rail project with the Central Government and impressed upon it to accept its national importance due to its strategic significance that the project moved ahead.
The Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh railway line, as an uninterrupted communication link to the remote border areas,can be of immense importance in meeting the security and developmental needs of the country,besides giving impetus to tourism activities in the State.It will open new vistas of development and tourism particularly in Bilaspur-Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts.
The contribution of the State in maintaining ecology and preserving environment of the country is well known and has been duly appreciated at the national level. Himachal Pradesh has been recently awarded Diamond State Award for its environment protection endeavours. The Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Mandi- Manali-Leh railway line will have its environmental significance also since it would decongest road traffic thereby minimising pollution through fuel emission.The work of this project would be undertaken on the basis of Clean Development Mechanism which would ensure environment preservation and will earn carbon credits to the state simultaneously.
The rail line would provide all weather transportation facility to the areas of Lahaul-Spiti which remain cut off for almost six months in a year besides strengthening the rail network in Leh area.
It would further strengthen the infrastructure development in the strategic border areas of the state which would be a blessing to the people of the area.
The natural beauty of the border areas of the country have always been a centre of attraction for the tourists and visitors but the area has remained inaccessible due to limited means of transportation. With the coming up of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Leh rail line the state would have advantage of cheap, accessible and sustainable means of transportation and visitors would have opportunity to undertake hassle free journey to event remote areas The beautiful valleys and areas of Bilaspur-Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti would be accessible for the tourists to have a spectacle of natural grandeur of the area for the while year.
There is a likelihood that this important Railway Project may be declared a National Project given the difficult logistics and the huge budget involved in it besides its strategic importance.