Abohar, November 29
The residents of Abohar and Fazilka regions of Punjab and Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan have been waiting for the past about eight years for the Abohar-Fazilka rail link to become operational.
This important rail link was sanctioned in 2003 by the Ministry of Railways on the consistent demand of the people of these regions, who were also supported by politicians. The foundation stone was laid down by the then Union Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar, in 2004.
However, the rail link, which was supposed to be operational in 2007, is likely to start functioning in March 2011. The physical work has been completed, the paper work is going on and a trial run on this section is likely to start shortly.
The rail link is bound to usher in an era of economic development in the border areas of Ferozepur district, which will have direct access to Sriganganagar and southern and central parts of India after it becomes operational. However, its project cost has gone up very high.
"The original project cost was ` 88 crore when the estimate for this rail link was sanctioned in 2003. Now, the project cost has gone up to ` 209 crore," said Surinder Singh, deputy chief engineer, Railway (Ambala), who is looking after the project.
It is learnt that this rail link will touch about six rural and semi-urban areas where railway stations had been set up apart from linking Abohar and Fazilka, both border towns and important trade centres of Punjab.