A final location survey for a broad-gauge single-track railway connectivity of Char Dham in Uttarakhand will commence on May 13, the Railway Ministry said on Thursday.
The Railways has entrusted the task to its public sector undertaking, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited ( RVNL), to conduct the final survey to provide rail connectivity to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath (Chardham) via Dehradun and Karanprayag.
In October 2015, RVNL had undertook a Reconnaissance Engineering Survey (REC) in the year 2014-15 of the rail connectivity project.
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 existing rail heads or the nearest railway stations to the proposed Char Dham are Doiwala, Rishikesh and Karanprayag.
The four dhams have their varied and distinctive elevation levels along with spiritual significance. As per the Reconnaissance Survey the total route length is 327 km at estimated cost of Rs. 43,292 crore.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will lay the foundation stone of the project at Badrinath in Uttarakhand on Friday.
The Yamunotri, the origin of the Yamuna river, is situated 3,293 metres above the mean sea level; Gangotri, the origin of the Ganga, is 3,408 metres above the sea level. It recommended 21 new stations, 61 tunnels totalling a tunnel length of 279 km and 59 bridges.
Kedarnath housing the shrine of Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 Jyotilingas at 3,583 metre height, while Badrinath housing the shrine of Lord Vishnu is at 3,133 metre height above sea level. Besides pilgrims, many foreign tourists throng the state.
The Indian Railways is also pursuing its ambitious project of constructing a rail line between Rishikesh and Karanprayag and efforts are underway to fast-track the project.