Rail connectivity to boost tourism through char-dham-yatra

Uttarakhand set to reboot tourism and growth in state

State of Uttarakhand, also known as Dev Bhoomi, has one of most revered must do pilgrimage circuit. The Chardham yatra, is one of the unique cornerstones of Hindu pilgrimage which is intertwined to mystical and spiritual aspirations of every devout Hindu. Large number of pilgrims flock to Chardham while foreign and domestic tourist  are attracted to trekking & sightseeing in the state of Uttarakhand. The Railway envisages bringing in a new era of safe and comfortable travel through this Chardham Rail Connectivity Project. Alongside, Indian Railways through Rail Vikas Nigam Limited is concurrently pursuing its ambitious project of construction of new rail line between Rishikesh and Karanprayag and efforts are underway to fast-track the completion of the project. These rail projects shall add momentum to the progress of the State by connecting far-flung areas besides boosting opportunities for the tourism and economic development. When completed, these rail projects would script their own unique engineering marvels in the history world railways.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his visit to the Kedarnath Temple, in Uttarakhand on May 03, 2017.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his visit to the Kedarnath Temple, in Uttarakhand on May 03, 2017.

Taking forward the vision of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to link the Chardham pilgrimage centres through rail connectivity and in keeping with its budgetary commitment, the Indian Railways is taking the significant step to commence the Final Location survey for a single BG line rail connectivity for the Chardham Pilgrimage. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways has been entrusted to undertake the Final Location Survey for rail connectivity to Chardham and Chardham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath via Dehradun & Karanprayag) in the State of Uttarakhand. As alignment will pass through the rugged mountainous terrain of mighty Himalayas, the Railway has to meet the challenges of railway construction integrating the unique challenges of the terrain and adverse geology along with limits of load, capacity, safety and speed.

The four Dhams have their varied and distinctive elevation levels along with unique spiritual significance. The Yamunotri tracing the origin of River Yamuna is situated at 3293 m above Mean Sea Level (MSL) while the Gangotri tracing the origin of River Ganga is situated at 3408 m above MSL. The Kedarnath housing the Shrine of Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas at 3583 m above MSL, while Badrinath housing the Shrine of Lord Vishnu is at 3133 m above MSL. The existing railheads or the nearest railway stations to the proposed Chardham connectivity are Doiwala, Rishikesh and Karanprayag (on the upcoming Rishikesh-Karanprayag new rail line under construction by RVNL) at mean MSL ranging from 400-825 m. The proposed Chardham rail line connecting to 2000 m MSL and above will be an engineering challenging feat.

Reiterating his commitment to fast-track this rail project, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu was present, when Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the Inter-state Cooperative Investment Summit & Exhibitionin Dehradun, in the presence of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat, as the Chief Guest on the occasion at Badrinath on 13 May 2017.

Singh’s message was loud and clear that Uttarakhand in addition to  developing tourism should also look at the building transport, handloom, fruits and vegetable farming, cultivation of medicinal plants, flower farming etc. through cooperatives. There is a huge market for these commodities not only in India, but abroad as well.  Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that women rub shoulders with other family members and work hard to provide a better life to their families. These women can strengthen their economic status through cooperatives in the small industry sector such as forestry, vegetable and fruit farming and solar energy.
Radha Mohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the Survey of final location to improve connectivity of ‘Char Dham’, at Koti, in Joshimath, Uttarakhand on May 13, 2017.

Radha Mohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the Survey of final location to improve connectivity of ‘Char Dham’, at Koti, in Joshimath, Uttarakhand on May 13, 2017 flanked by Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat

Talking about the role of cooperatives in the development of Uttarakhand, Singh said that he was happy to learn that the State’s cooperative department has selected cooperative entrepreneurship as a medium to boost entrepreneurship in the state and organised the exhibition.   He also said that cooperatives are not new to our country and that the cooperative movement had first started in a village in Gujarat and the movement led to the enactment of Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904.

Singh said that it is important to implement Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in Uttarakhand through cooperative societies and help affected farmers because the state’s agriculture sector is totally dependent upon monsoon.  The Minister pointed out that the Government has taken concrete steps for the revival of cooperative societies to transform them into a dynamic, democratic organisation, so that they can be competitive in the global economy. He further said that considering the importance of cooperative societies in improving rural economy, the Government is determined to support the cooperative societies through various programmes.
Modern cooperatives have attained a comprehensive shape during the 112-year journey. Indian cooperative movement is one of the biggest cooperative movements in the world. There are 8 lakh cooperative societies in India, which includes the cooperative organisation at the village and national levels. The membership of cooperative societies in the country is more than 274 million and it includes 95% villages and 71% rural families. The participation of Uttarakhand in cooperative societies is appreciable. There are 4, 381 societies in the state, which are associated with various professions. As many as 759 packs are operational and their membership is 12 lakh and it is also appreciable that hundred percent villages are covered under these packs.

News Update| 24 July 2017 | Airport Authority of India signs MoU with Uttarakhand 

Going ahead with its commitment towards the responsibility of creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in the country, Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed an MoU with Government of Uttarakhand last week and joined hands with Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) to develop the civil aviation sector in the state.

The scope of the MoU is to identify relevant factors influencing the development of civil aviation infrastructure in Uttarakhand, assessing commercial potential of various airports of the state, identifying technical considerations for airport operations in the state, evaluating site related technical and engineering parameters for development of projects, making estimate of the capital outlay for the future projects and development of master plan for existing and future civil aviation infrastructure in the state. AAI will also assist UCADA in obtaining necessary clearances for airport operations starting with the upgraded airport at Pithoragarh and later at Chiniyalisaur.

The MoU was signed by S. Ramaswamy, Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand and Anil Gupta, General Manager (Business Development). Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Secretary, GoUK said that the Government of Uttarakhand is determined to fulfill the long pending requirement of operational airports within the state. These airports would also be part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme and will boost tourism and air connectivity for the local public.

News Update |President of India in Uttarakhand, Visits Divya Prem Sewa Mission In Haridwar

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, visited the Divya Prem Sewa Mission, Haridwar, on September 23, 2017.  The President received a rousing reception amid heavy rain. Speaking on the occasion, he said that this is his first visit to ‘DevbhoomiUttarakhand after assuming the office of President. He commended the state for its natural beauty and spiritual heritage.

The President also praised the national contribution of famous political leaders from the state, such as G.B. Pant and H.N. Bahuguna. The President highlighted the legacy and efforts of the state in the area of ecological conservation. He said illustrious people from Uttarakhand, such as Sundarlal Bahuguna, have set an example for the world on how to preserve and protect nature and the environment. People associated with the ‘Chipko Andolan‘ used to sing a song that goes, ‘Our soil, Our water, Our forest; Our forefathers nurtured these. We will certainly save them’. Uttarakhand has to achieve its development goals within this framework of environmental protection. There is need to maintain the right balance between conservation and development.

The President said that the ‘Namami Gange‘ mission will travel to the plains of India and end in West Bengal, but it begins in Uttarakhand. Therefore, the movement to clean and preserve the Ganga should also start in Uttarakhand.

The President praised the work done by the Divya Prem Seva Mission in the service of leprosy patients. He expressed hope that people of our country will draw inspiration from the efforts of the Divya Prem Seva Mission and dedicate themselves in the service of humanity.


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