New Delhi/Anantnag: Minister of RailwaysSuresh Prabhakar Prabhu on Thursday flagged off Banihal-Baramulla Fast Passenger (DEMU) and Budgam-Baramulla Demu through video conferencing between Rail Bhawan in the national capital and Anantnag Railway Station, where Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti graced the inaugural function.
The Baramulla-Budgam-Banihal section is presently being served by 13 pairs of train services, which mean 26 single services are running at present.
Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said seamless rail connectivity among all the districts of the state has always been a long-standing demand of this beautiful valley and the new services of trains will prove a great comfort to the people.
"Being a hilly area the road transport generally takes around 6 hours between Baramulla-Banihal, but one can cover this distance now in just 2 hours and 20 minutes by using new DEMU train that too in just Rs. 30 fare. The state has great importance from the tourism point of view, where national and international tourists visit throughout the year and thus this connectivity will give a boost to tourism in the state."
He said the railways are also working with the help of IRCTC to bring J&K on a tourism map, which will not only promote tourism but also promote its handicraft industry and its delicious cuisines. He said that the Prime Minister of India has specifically focused on development of the state.
Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge), Prime Minister's Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space, "Dr. Jitendra Singh said the new train services in the Valley is a great relief to the people and a good rail connectivity of train will help develop the state in the field of tourism, economically, social and all other spheres. The new train services will reduce the journey time of the people of Valley and will also be cost effective as the fares of trains are less as compared to road transport."
Mehbooba said she would take up with the Centre the introduction of a new train service -Valley on Wheels to give a boost to tourism in the state.