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India to Build Rail Line to Ladakh

April 27, 2009

Times of India
April 26, 2009

NEW DELHI -- The ambitious and strategically
crucial project to link mountain-locked Ladakh
region of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the
country by train has moved a step closer to
fructification with the Railways finalising the
feasibility report in this regard.

The first rail link is proposed to be between Leh
and Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh and six
passenger trains and nine goods trains are planned on the 498 km-long section.

"The feasibility report of Leh-Bilaspur rail link
project is almost ready and it will be submitted
to Railway Ministry shortly for scrutiny. After
the scrutiny, the report would be sent to the
Planning Commission before being sent to
Parliament for final approval," said a senior
Railway Ministry official involved with the feasibility study.

The project is strategically crucial as it is
part of India's efforts to improve infrastructure
in the border region considering that China has
already built a rail link to Tibet.

China has also improved connectivity with
Pakistan via the Karakoram highway which runs close to the Indian border.

The proposed Leh rail project came up for
discussion at the Army Commanders' Conference
here recently in the context of improving supply
lines along the border like China has done.

According to the study, the Leh-Bilaspur project,
which is estimated to cost about Rs 22,000 crore,
6,000 passengers are expected to travel daily in
the section, once the line is operational.
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