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Inauguration of Udhampur-Katra rail line delayed by a year

Rakesh Rocky

Posted: Apr 24, 2005 at 0156 hrs IST

THE Railways has delayed the inauguration of the Udhampur-Katra rail track by a year due to the stalling of work at a tunnel near Kaimal Danga due to waterlogging for the past one year.

According to reliable sources, the Udhampur-Katra rail line was to be completed in December 2005, but now it has been extended up to December 2006. Railway Minister Laloo Prashad Yadav had also mentioned the water problem at a tunnel on the Katra track in his speech during the inauguration of the Udhampur rail line and now it has been officially delayed.

‘‘Yes, there is a certain problem due to the water in tunnel number three on the track. The period of completion of this track now has been extended up to December 2006,’’ said Bhanu Prakash, Deputy Chief Engineer, (Surveys).

The work on tunnel number three between Chakrawaha and Katra has been badly hampered due to waterlogging for the past one year.

Sources told The Indian Express that the Railways have decided to engage one more construction agency on the track. Skanska Construction India Ltd is already working on the track. ‘‘The purpose of engaging one more agency is to accelerate the work so there is no further delay in the completion of the project,’’ said a senior Railways official.

The Railways is likely to take a decision in this regard within a month. Sources said that advance machinery will be put to work. Recently, a team of experts had visited the tunnel and they has suggested to the Railways authorities to engage one more agency in the work.

At present, over 850 people, including a large number of the engineers, are working on the Udhampur-Katra track. Though there is no danger to the lives of the people due to the water, however, it has slowed down the work on the tunnel.

The 25-km-long Udhampur-Katra track has seven tunnels, which cover 10.6 km (40 per cent) of the total track. However, there will be only one station at Chakrawaha on this track.

The longest single span and highest bridge (90 metres) on Jhhajar Khud also falls on this track.

Sources said that work on five tunnels out of seven has already been completed. ‘‘Due to the presence of water, we face lot of problems in drilling and small blasting work. Due to this, the work on the tunnel is progressing very slowly,” said Deputy Chief Engineer Bhanu Prakash.

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