Stressing that Himalayan states have similar sets of problems and opportunities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today proposed a "common model" for the their development.
"I accept that there is need to have a separate policy and planning for development of the Himalayan states in India. All the states located in Himalayan belt have same set of problems and also diverse opportunities in similar nature," Modi said. The prime minister was here to flag off the train linking Katra - the base camp for pilgrims headed to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine nestled in the Trikuta hills.
He said, "We want to go for it, in the Himalayan states until North-East, which will benefit not only Jammu and Kashmir but also North East. We are committed to move in that direction as well." The prime minsiter expressed wish to convert the railway station in first of its kind to be powered by solar energy.
"I have asked the authorities that this can be the first such railway station which we can convert into solar-based railway station," he said. "Railway board chairman has expressed that it (board) will take up the work in this direction immediately. Katra will be model of environment friendly railway station with solar lighting facilities."
The train connectivity to Katra is part of the ambitious Kashmir rail link project that will connect the Valley with the rest of the country. The last link between Katra and Banihal pass, is expected to be completed by 2018. The 25-kilometer long Udhampur-Katra line, commissioned after prolonged delays, has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,132.75 crore.