Press Trust of india

Jammu-Poonch railway line project shelved for being ‘financially unviable’

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Jammu: The central government has again shelved the 223-km Jammu-Poonch railway line project for being “financially unviable”, an activist said on Thursday citing RTI responses from the authorities.

The Ministry of Railways gave the information in response to two applications filed by Jammu-based activist Raman Sharma under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The final survey report of the project for laying broad-gauge line between Jammu and the border district of Poonch via Rajouri was submitted in 2018 with an estimated cost of Rs 22,771 crore.

This was the second time the central government has shelved the project connecting important towns such as Akhnoor, Sunderbani and Nowshera.

Earlier, the Union government had shelved the project in January 2014.

According to the RTI responses provided by Director of Projects and Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Railway Board Pankaj Kumar on March 07 and 15, the survey for the new railway line between Jammu and Poonch having a length of 223 km was completed in 2017-18 but the project could not be taken forward for being “financially unviable”.

He said the survey has been shelved with the approval of the Railway Board.

In response to a query of the applicant regarding any other proposal as on date pending with the Ministry of Railways for providing and laying rail line between Jammu and Poonch, the Railway Board replied in the negative and said “presently there is no proposal under consideration for this line”.

There has been a long standing demand by people for a railway line to connect Jammu with the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. The people became hopeful the survey was taken up in 2008 and declared as a national project in March 2012.

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