Shimla: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, has urged the Union Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, to start direct train service between Una and Haridwar to facilitate the devotees of lower areas visit the holy place conveniently. In a letter written communication sent today to the Union Railway Minister, he urged the Union Minister to incorporate the persistent demand of the people of lower districts of the state of starting new railway service in the next Union Railway Budget besides making budgetary provisions for the construction of the already announced Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri broad gauge railway line, to honour the commitment of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the state government was prepared to share 25 percent cost of the railway project.
Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh had not been given its due in railway network expansion since independence and entire mobility depended upon road transportation of man and material. He said that it had caused immense pressure on the roads since the number of vehicular traffic was multiplying year after year and in the absence of alternate transportation facilities the national highways, state highways and other link roads were getting choked. He said that there was urgent need to decongest the road by creating alternate transportation facilities like expansion of railway network and upgradation of the air services to the state. He added that Himachal Pradesh happens to be the favourite destination to the tourists from around the world who visit the state very often and round the year. He further said that to protect the environment and make adequate transportation facilities conveniently available to the visitors it had emerged the dire necessity to create railway network in the state. He said that the state government had repeatedly been taking up the same issue with the Union Ministry but the desired results were yet to be seen on the ground.
Prof. Dhumal said that pre-feasibility survey of the Chandigarh-Baddi broad gauge railway line had already been completed and the same stands included in the current year Railway Budget but the construction work of the same had not yet been started. He requested the Union Minister to ensure substantial budgetary provisions for the construction work of the above railway line in the next year Railway Budget, since the industrialists on the borders of the state were suffering heavily due to non-availability of railway transportation services connectivity.
He further sought the cooperation of the ministry in completion of the ongoing Nangal-Talwara railway line project and hoped that the same would be made operational by coming financial year for which adequate budgetary provisions would be required in the next Railway Budget.
Chief Minister said that the human traffic to and fro the state had increased tremendously during past few years and people of the state had now increased paying capacity with better living standards and look forward for more comfortable and convenient journeys. He apprised the Union Minister of the pressing demand of the people to start one more Shatabdi Express between New Delhi and Pathankot besides extending the Jan Shatabdi from Chandigarh to Una which would facilitate the railway travelers of lower districts which contained the major chunk of the state population.
Prof. Dhumal said that such improved railway services would be in the best interest of the people of the state as well as the industrialists, agriculture and horticulture producers which formed the major economic activity of the state. He further said that the state was poised to give boost to the commercial farming activities with a view to generate employment and self employment avenues to the rural educated unemployed youth and improved communication network would be of utmost importance to implement the policies and programmes of the state government directed to achieve the objective.