Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday was at Badrinath on Saturday to inaugurate the foundation for the final location survey to link the four important Hindu shrines in the hills of Uttarakhand.
This expensive project will cost Rs 43,000 crore to make the ambition reality.
The Char Dham rail circuit will enable devotees to visit the famous Himalayan shrines -- Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinathand Kedarnath -- even in adverse climatic conditions, Prabhu said.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who accompanied the union minister at the foundation laying ceremony, described the proposed project as a milestone in the development of the state.
For Gangotri and Yamunotri, the railway line will start from Doiwala near Dehradun, while for Kedarnath and Badrinath, it will start from Karnaprayag.
According to officials of the Railway ministry the Doiwala-Gangotri line will be 131 km long and for Yamunotri another 22 km of tracks will be laid from Maneri.
For Kedarnath, a 99 km rail link will be laid between Karnaprayag and Sonprayag and for Badrinath another 75 km longtrack will be laid between Karnaprayag and Joshimath.
An estimated Rs 43,292 crore is likely to be spent on the project, they said.
Earlier, accompanied by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and the chief minister, Prabhu paid obeisance atthe Badrinath shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The Agriculture Minister also laid the foundation stone of a agricultural science centre near Joshimath.
The Char Dham rail link project is the second major gift from the Narendra Modi government to Uttarakhand after the Rs 12,000 crore all-weather Char Dham roads project whose foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister in Dehradun, shortly ahead of the state assembly polls.
"People all over the country want to visit Char Dham atleast once in their life time.
A rail link project in the areawill make it more convenient for them as the pilgrimage will not have to face obstructions like landslides and bad weather," Prabhu said.
He said the most modern technology will be used in the project to ensure that no harm is caused to the fragile Himalayan ecology.
A large portion of the budget for the project will be spent on measures to prevent landslides and conserve the environment, he said.
Railway reservation counters will also be set up in Kedarnath and Badrinath to save residents of surrounding are as the trouble of going all the way to the district head quartersto get a train ticket.
Here are the important dates and informations related to Char Dham Yatra opening:
|Yamunotri||28 April 2017|
|Gangotri||28 April 2017|
|Kedarnath||03 May 2017|
|Badrinath||06 May 2017|
The annual Char Dham pilgrimage has already started from May 9 on the auspicious ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ festival with the reopening of the Gangotri and the Yamunotri shrines in the Garhwal Himalayas.
The gates of the temples were reopened on the same day for the pilgrims after remaining closed for six months during the winters, whereas, gates of the Badrinath Temple in the Chamoli district has been reopened on May 11, 2017.
The shrines are closed for devotees during the winter season every year as the region, at a higher altitude, witnesses extreme cold conditions, they are reopened during the summers.
The pilgrimage that spans for a period of six months attracts lakhs devotees from country and abroad and is considered as the economic backbone of the Garhwal Himalaya region. (With PTI inputs)