Survey of one of the world’s highest railway lines was launched in Leh, by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on June 27. The strategically vital 498 km long track, is at a height of 3,300 m, higher than China's Qinghai-Tibet Railway. This is one of the four important railway connections ascertained by the defence ministry along the China border.
It will link key locations between Bilaspur and Leh namely Sunder Nagar Mandi, Manali, Tandi, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu. Currently, this road route is open only five months in a year. The survey, which is financed by the defence ministry, is estimated at Rs 157.77 crore
Minister Suresh Prabhu stated that this rail development project receives special emphasis from the NDA government as it would provide logistics support and thus serve the country’s strategic interests while also providing safer, reliable all-weather connectivity for Leh.
“RITES has deployed its expert team to carry out this challenging task. The survey will be carried out in three phases and is slated to be completed by 2019,” added a senior Railway Ministry official. RITES is a Railways Public Sector Undertaking.
The projected railway line connecting places between Bilaspur and Leh will enhance socio-economic conditions and tourism in these areas.