The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is reaching completion, reported Press Trust of India (PTI) citing a senior railway official.

The project has already utilised more than 90% of its sanctioned cost of $4.4bn (Rs370.12bn) for the works.

Once the project is completed, Kashmir will be connected with the remaining regions of the country.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw are personally monitoring the project, which is advancing “very well” and the works are taking place in “top gear” at all fronts, according to the official.

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USBRL chief administrative officer S P Mahi was quoted by the news agency as saying “The latest sanctioned cost of the USBRL project is Rs370.12bn crore. Cumulative booking of expenditure till February 23 is Rs 3,34,21 crore which is 90.29% of the total sanctioned cost.”

The 272 km-long USBRL project, which was declared a “National Project” in 2002, will cover 38 tunnels including the longest tunnel (T-49) with a length of 12.77km.

Of the total 272km length, the 118 km Qazigund-Baramulla section was commissioned in October 2009, the 18km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.

Furthermore, works are underway on the 111km Katra-Banihal section.

Mahi further noted: “Indian Railways is moving closer to connecting Kashmir to the rest of the railway network day by day. The USBRL project is progressing very well.

“The world’s highest railway bridge across Chenab river has been completed and track-linking work on it has started, while work on Indian Railways ‘first cable-stayed bridge’ is nearing completion.”