Srinagar, Oct 26 : Pilgrims to Vaishno Devi shrine can travel directly to Katra base camp from next year with the Udhampur-Katra link of the rail project to Kashmir likely to be completed by this December, officials said today.
All bridges, tracks, stations and tunnels have been completed on Udhampur-Katra Railway link and the project is likely to be completed by this year end, they said.
Katra town in Reasi is the base camp for pilgrims to Vaishno Devi shrine where an estimated eight million devotees pay obeisance every year.
They said the longest transportation tunnel in the country, which will connect Qazigund town with Banihal on the either side of the Pir Panjal mountain range, is also expected to be completed by the year end.
The 11-km tunnel is being constructed near the existing 2.6-km Jawahar tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir Valley.However, the work on the section between Qazigund and Banihal is expected to be completed by March 2012, they said.
The challenging section of the railway project between Katra-Qazigund comprises 80 per cent length in tunnels and seven bridges. PTI