PM Modi to address public rally in Jammu on Feb 20: Jitendra Singh
Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a slew of projects and address a rally during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir on February 20, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday.
Singh was in his parliamentary constituency Udhampur to oversee the stoppage of the Katra-Delhi Vande Bhart Express train at Udhampur and Kathua railway stations.
Modi will address a public rally in Jammu, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office said.
“We wanted the prime minister to visit J-K before the start of the election code of conduct. His programme has been finalised for February 20 during which he will launch various projects and also address a public meeting,” Singh told reporters in Udhampur.
The minister flagged off the maiden stoppage of the train from the Martyr Captain Tushar Mahajan railway station early this morning and later travelled on it to reach Kathua railway station, where the train made its first stoppage.
The two-minute stoppage of the medium-distance superfast express train at Udhampur and Kathua railway stations was introduced to facilitate the people in the two districts. Both the districts fall in the Udhampur parliamentary constituency.
During his visit, the prime minister will inaugurate an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaypur in Samba, the highest railway bridge over Chenab in Reasi district, Devika project at Udhampur, IIM Jammu and Shahpur-Kandi Dam project.
The 1.3-km Chenab rail bridge located 359 metres above the river bed — 35 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris — forms a crucial link in the 111-km stretch from Katra to Banihal, which is part of the ongoing prestigious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.
Modi is also likely to inaugurate over 33-km Banihal-Samber section which is ready for train operations, officials said, adding the dream project to connect Kashmir with rest of the country through train is rescheduled for May to complete the pending works.
The minister said Jammu and Kashmir, especially Udhampur, has always remained on the priority list of the prime minister who started his 2014 election campaign after ‘darshan’ at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
He also thanked the railway minister for accepting the demand of the people for stoppage of Vande Bharat train at Udhampur and Kathua, terming it as a “historic decision” of the government.
“The railway ministry accepted our demand and we are thankful to them. Udhampur, which houses the headquarters of the northern command, is going to emerge as an important place after Kashmir is connected with the rest of the country by train in the next two to three months,” Singh said.
He said the railway station has been included in the Amrit Rail station category for its development.
Likewise, Kathua district borders Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and the new initiative (stoppage of Vande Bharat) will boost industry and trade besides facilitating the youth, especially students, the minister said.
Later, addressing a gathering, Singh said with this facility, Prime Minister Modi has fulfilled the demand of the local people and commuters for providing stoppage of Vande Bharat train at Kathua station.
“This achievement was not a small feat as the entire process of ticketing and haltage was completed within just one-and-half-month period without tinkering with the mandated eight-hour journey time of the Vande Bharat train,” he said.
Singh also expressed his gratitude to the prime minister on behalf of the local people, for acceding to their demand to change the name of the Udhampur railway station to Martyr Captain Tushar Mahajan Railway Station, saying that it is for the first time in the country that a railway station has been named after a fallen soldier.
He said the railway route to J&K is unique as it is among the few that have two Vande Bharat trains chugging off, whereas many places in the country are yet to avail this state-of-the-art transport facility which was unveiled in 2015.
He said the pair of Vande Bharat trains were sanctioned for J&K after the trains of the same make were dedicated to Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of the prime minister.
Sharing the revised time schedule of the two Vande Bharat trains, with Udhampur and Kathua as stoppages, Singh said it has been done keeping in mind commuters’ comfort.
He said travellers from Kathua and Udhampur can now have lunch in Delhi whereas travellers from Delhi can have dinner at the next destination.