In a setback to Udhampur-Katra rail link project, the work on the 25-km-long stretch has been slowed down after the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir over the BSF firing incident at Ramban.
The Katra line was expected to be operational by the end of August as work was going on full throttle. But now it is further delayed and likely to be commissioned in October this year.
"The workforce involved in laying the tracks between Udhampur and Katra, part of the Kashmir rail link project, had fled after the turmoil in the state due to the firing incident and it has affected the progress of the ongoing work," a senior Northern Railway official involved in the project said.
He said majority of the skilled workforce were from outside of the state including Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar.
Though the work has been resumed in the section, the pace is slow as all the workers have not yet returned, the official said.
The ballast-less track is being laid on the Udhampur-Katra section which involves about 11 km of tunnelling, nine major bridges, 29 minor bridges and 10 rail overbids/rail under-bridges.
Trial run will be conducted on the route after the completion of laying the track and the Commissioner Railway Safety will inspect the line before giving the clearance.
We are trying to make the line operational before the commencement of Navaratri, official said.
All the tunnelling as well as bridge works have been completed.