Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today flagged off a fortnightly train service exclusively for children between Banihal and Baramulla.
The Chief Minister flagged off the train at Qazigund and travelled with the children till Baramulla and finally de-boarded at Srinagar. She interacted with the children and asked them to devote time to their studies and extracurricular activities in equal measure.
The children also had lot of fun on the train. They were seen reciting rhymes, singing songs and enjoying Nature.
Minister for R&B, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Ministers of State, Asiea Naqash, Mir Zahoor and Priya Sethi, MPs, legislators, senior officers of divisional administration, senior officers of Northern Railways and large number of people joined the train run at several stops.
During the train ride kids of different schools mingled with the Chief Minister. They informed her about their schools and areas. The normal innocent smile was back on their faces and they had a free time of innocence with the Chief Minister.
Mehbooba Mufti enquired from the children about their schools, studies and also their extracurricular activities. She said she was happy to see smiles back on the faces of kids after a long pause of depressive environs away from their schools. She said children of the State need more and more such occasions of outing and assured them that the Government would be taking steps for regularizing their activities in sports, extracurricular, adventure and other such interactive activities.
It may be recalled that the idea of running a train exclusively for children was mooted by the Chief Minister in view of the fact that kids of the Valley have generally limited facilities of outing available locally. The fortnightly train ride would give them an opportunity to know their province and State much closely and mingle with children of other areas and districts. The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting the Chief Minister had with Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu at New Delhi last month wherein she had pitched for starting such a train service.
On every alternate Sunday the train service would take off from Banihal at 8.15 am and reach Baramulla at 10.40 am from where it would return back at 10.50 am to reach Banihal back at 01.35 pm. The train would again move from Banihal at 02.10 pm and reach Baramulla at 05.05 pm to finally return back at 05.15 pm for the day.
The train would have stops at Qazigund, Anantnag, Awantipora, Srinagar, Budgam and Sopore before reaching Baramulla. In today’s inaugural run, students from Government run schools were taken on the ride but subsequently the facility would be thrown open to children of private schools as well.