Pilgrims can now rejoice, thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian Railways is all set to start working on a new railway line that connects the Char Dham pilgrimage centres to the rest of the country. It is a giant undertaking by the Government of India and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will lay the foundation stone in Badrinath, one of the Char Dham centres, on May 13th for the ‘Final Location Survey For Single Broad Gauge Line Rail Connectivity’. The Budget of 2017-2018 sanctioned a whopping amount of INR 120.92 cr for the Final Location Survey.
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which is a Public Sector Enterprise, is undertaking the Final Location Survey for Char Dham and Char Dham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath via Dehradun & Karanprayag) in the State of Uttarakhand. According to the Railway Ministry of India, this proposed plan of a railway line connecting to 2000 m Mean Sea Level and above is going to be an ‘‘engineering challenging feat’’. The rugged mountainous terrains of the region will prove to be very difficult to lay down railway tracks as there are limitations of load, capacity, safety and speed.
Char Dham is defined as the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely respected by Hindus. It is the most popular annual Hindu pilgrimage. This yatra sees millions of devotees journey through rugged terrains and rough weather conditions to pay their homage in these holy places in order to attain salvation by washing off their sins. Needless to say, rail connectivity will make the journey much more convenient and comfortable.