In a few years’ time, tourists in India can visit Leh all-year-round all thanks to the Indian railways plan of putting together a 498 kilometre-long railway line from Bilaspur to Leh.
The first survey was flagged off a few months ago and the remaining three are in the pipeline. Sources have said that the others will only begin once the Ministry of Defence approves the entire final location survey report. This is expected to be done by 2020.
A railway board official has said that this railway line will be built at a height of 3,300 metres, and it will be one of the highest railway lines in India. Some even say that it might over take the China’s Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Besides the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line, the other three railway routes are North Lakhimpur-Bame (Along)-Silapathar (249 kilometres), Missamari-Tenga-Tawang (378 kilometres) and the Pasighat-Tezu-Parsuram Kund-Rupai (227 kilometres).
Experts estimate that putting together these four strategic railway lines will cost more than 2 lakh crore. Speaking on the subject, a railway official said, “The railway lines are in difficult and challenging geological conditions as the Himalayas are young and fragile mountains. The projects are natured as capital-intensive and no traffic is expected on these routes.”
The cost of this project will be born by the Ministry of Defense and not the Indian Railways.