Around 100 young students from Higher secondary school in Banihal on Wednesday shared their dream with the state chief minister Omar Abdullah.
“Today is an historic occasion for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had always thought of travelling across Pir Panchal through railway”, Abdullah said.
``In my childhood I also had the same dream and kept wondering when will I travel through the mountains,'' he added.
Young boys and girls enjoyed the first train ride across the Majestic Pir Panjal mountains, connecting Banihal in Jammu to Lavidara near Qazigund town.
The students had august company, as co-passengers in their maiden ride.
Minutes before addressing a gathering at Banihal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi flagged off the flower-bedecked train which passed through the 11 kilometre tunnel-India's longest. Chief minister Omar Abdullah along with union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, state congress chief Safuddin Soz, and state governor N N Vohra was also present during the occasion.
``Its the first time I have boarded a train and never thought I will do this sitting with the Prime Minister,'' said Shaheen Mushtaq, a class 10 student.
Shaheen and other girls in her train encashed the oppurtunity. ``We told the Prime Minister about the lack of infrastructure in our school,'' Mushtaq added.
Nida, another student from the same school, said the girls put forth a list of demands. ``We don't have laboratory, library and playground in our school, so we asked the PM for all of that,'' she said.
Praising the school students, Omar Abdullah said,``The students enjoyed themselves and entertained us as well. It was fun sharing the ride with them''.
Another person for whom the ride was a dream run, was the driver of the train, Vinod Kumar. ``I am feeling on top of the world, as the prime minister of the country was my passenger,'' he said.
Kumar also had a message for people. ``More and more people should board the train and save their money and time; and enjoy a safe journey,'' he added.