Uttarakhand in India is easily accessible by air, rail and road. The Jolly Grant airport near Dehradun is the most popular airport in the region. Some domestic airlines operate flights to and from Dehradun. Uttarakhand shares an excellent railway network with most of the Indian cities and towns. The major railway stations that connect the state to the other parts of the country are the Dehradun Railway Station, the Haridwar Railway Station, and the Kathgodam Railway Station. Uttarakhand is well connected to most of the cities in India by a strong network of National Highways such as 58, 73, 74, and 87. The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) manages and operates the bus services in the state.
PWD, BRTF (Border Road Task Force), local bodies and other prominent authorities in the state are entrusted with the task of road maintenance. Total road network in Uttarakhand was 38,680.92 km as of 2013-14.
Out of the total road length, 27,693 km is maintained by PWD while 1,281.32 km is maintained by BRTF. About 2,902.68 km road length is maintained by the local bodies and remaining is maintained by other departments in the state.
The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC), which has been reorganized as the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) is a major constituent of the transportation system in the state.
The corporation began its operation on 31 October 2003 and provides bus services on inter-state and nationalized routes. UTC is a PSU-owned transport corporation providing services in Uttarakhand and other adjoining states in North India.
With a fleet size of around 1,143 buses, UTC operates over 3.50 lakh km catering to the travel needs of over 1 lakh people every day. UTC buses ply on 35 nationalised routes and district roads, besides connecting neighbouring states with regular services. It provides adequate, efficient, well-co-ordinated, comfortable and economical services to passengers, while earning enough for sustainable growth in Uttarakhand.
There are also private transport operators running nearly 3,000 buses on non-nationalised routes along with a few interstate routes in Uttarakhand and the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.
For travelling locally, the state has autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws.
Uttarakhand had 345 km of rail routes in 2013-14. The state is focusing on increasing the share of railways in cargo and passenger transport. Initiatives have been undertaken to start monorails at Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh on the inter-city linkage routes. The main railway stations in the state are Dehradun, Haridwar, Roorkee, Kotdwar, Kashipur, Udham Singh Nagar, Haldwani, Ramnagar and Kathgodam.
In July 2014, the railway minister announced plans to start two new trains that will connect the state to Agra and Rameshwaram. Moreover, a proposal was put up for a rail connection to ‘chaar dham’, the pilgrim circuit. As of 2014-15, the state government of Uttarakhand is planning to launch a rail project between Rishikesh and Karanprayag.
The length of the railway track would be around 12 km. As over 86% of Uttarakhand’s terrain consists of hills, railway services are very limited in the state and are largely confined to the plains. Rail, being the cheapest mode of transport, is most popular.
The most important railway station in Kumaun division is at Kathgodam, 35 km from Nainital. Kathgodam is the last terminus of the broad gauge line of North East Railways that connects Nainital with Delhi, Dehradun, and Howrah. Other notable railway stations are at Pantnagar, Lalkuan and Haldwani. Dehradun railway station is a railhead of the Northern Railways.
Haridwar station is situated on the Delhi–Dehradun and Howrah–Dehradun railway lines. One of the main railheads of the Northern Railways, Haridwar Junction (railway station) is connected by meter gauge and broad gauge lines. Roorkee comes under Northern Railway region on the main Punjab – Mughal Sarai trunk route and is connected to major Indian cities. Other railheads are Rishikesh, Kotdwar and Ramnagar linked to Delhi by daily trains. Dehradun railway station is a railhead of the Northern Railways. Haridwar station is situated on the Delhi–Dehradun and Howrah–Dehradun railway lines. One of the main railheads of the Northern Railways, Haridwar Junction Railway Station is connected by metre gauge and broad gauge lines. Roorkee comes under Northern Railway region of Indian Railways on the main Punjab – Mughal Sarai trunk route
and is connected to major Indian cities. Other railheads are Rishikesh, Kotdwar and Ramnagar linked to Delhi by daily trains.
Air transport system
Uttarakhand has two domestic airports. One at Jolly Grant in Dehradun district and another at Pant Nagar in Udham Singh Nagar district. In 2013-14, the passenger traffic of Jolly Grant airport was 3,06,832, whereas the traffic for Pant Nagar airport was 114.
In 2014-15, Jolly Grant airport recorded passenger traffic of 3,78,646 passengers, whereas, the aircraft movement and cargo handled by the airport was 4,810 and 43 tonnes respectively.
The air transport network in the state is gradually improving. Jolly Grant Airport is the busiest airport in the state with six daily flights to Delhi Airport. Pantnagar Airport of the Kumaon region has one daily air service to Delhi and return too.
The government is planning to develop Naini Saini Airport in Pithoragarh, BharkotAirport in Chinyalisaur in Uttarkashi district and Gauchar Airport in Gauchar, Chamolidistrict. There are plans to launch helipad service in Pantnagar and Jolly Grant Airports and other important tourist destinations like Ghangaria and Hemkund Sahib.
All flights connect the state to Delhi. Upgradation work has been completed at the Jolly Grant airport in coordination with Airports Authority of India. Due to the hilly terrain, the government has proposed the construction of at least one helipad per district.
The state intends to position flight services as a reliable all-weather transport option for the hills.
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