Union Minister of State for Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve on Sunday reviewed the progress of the 272-km-long Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) project and said it should be completed by 2023.
Mr Danve, who is on a two-day visit to Ramban district as part of the central government's public outreach programme, chaired a high-level meeting at Patnitop where he took stock of issues hindering the progress of the project, an official spokesperson said.
Reviewing the availability of construction materials for executing agencies, the minister directed the district administration to issue short-term permits so that the Railways could procure essential construction material.
Enquiring about causes of delay, he also sought a detailed report on the project's cost escalation from chief engineers.
The total length of the USBRL is 272 km, of which 161 km has already been commissioned, while work is in progress on the 111-km-long Katra-Banihal stretch, the spokesman said.
He said the Katra-Banihal stretch comprises 27 main tunnels and eight escape tunnels.
The entire project is estimated to cost Rs 27,949 crores, the spokesman said
The meeting was informed that more than 200 km of approach roads, including a tunnel and 320 bridges, have been constructed to reach the working sites, the official said.
The 136-km-long railway line from Banihal to Baramulla has already been commissioned, and its electrification work is in progress, he said, adding that it is expected to be completed by March 2022.