Come 2015, kanwariyas will not have to walk 185km from Sultanganj to offer holy water to Shiv at Baidyanath Dham during Shravani mela.
The much-ambitious railway link from Sultanganj to Deoghar, where Baidyanath Dham is located in Jharkhand, is expected to be ready by then.
Malda divisional railway manager (DRM) Ravindar Gupta, while quoting a recent report of the railways construction department, said works on the new tracks from Sultanganj to Deoghar via Banka would be completed by end-2014. But it would take at least five to six months for starting railway traffic on the section.
With opening of the new tracks, the 185km distance between Sultanganj to Deoghar via Kiul would be reduced by 52km. At present, Sultanganj has direct rail connectivity with Banka via Bhagalpur and the new line to Deoghar would be extended from Banka to Deoghar. The distance from Banka to Deoghar would be 55km.
The work on the line was initiated on 2002 and was scheduled to be completed by 2010 but land acquisition problems delayed the project.
According to sources, work on some 10-12km tracks is yet to be completed. The stretch from Banka to Kakwara has been completed while work is presently on from Kakwara to Kharjausa to Kotoria. The sources said the stretch from Chandan to Deoghar had been completed last year and plying of goods trains were started too. “We had targeted to complete the work on this section by the end of 2012 but because of funds crunch, it was not completed but sanction of funds in the 2013-14 budget has expedited the process,” said an official.
The sources also pointed out that the construction department had started building the tracks along with railway stations, platform, water and electricity facilities among others. The sources said that work on the tracks on 25.7km from Banka to Kotoria had been completed, more than 80 per cent works have been completed on the 15km stretch from Chandan to Deoghar and works on railway tracks has been completed while 80 per cent other works yet to be completed on this stretch.
Bilash Kumar Mishra (67), a resident at Banka, said the proposed railway link would be very fruitful for the devotees and for the purpose of business, trade and commerce.