Monday, March 12, 2012

Missing link: Delhi loses rail project's track

Another budget, another hope. A rail link between Abohar and Fazilka is running behind schedule. In the 2011 railway budget, then railway minister Mamata Banerjee had announced passenger train between Fazilka and Abohar. Thereafter, the project has hit the bureaucratic

Nitish Kumar, as railway Minister in 2004, had laid the foundation stone of the 28-km-long rail link that was to be operational by 2007. The delay in its completion shot up the estimated cost to Rs 210 crore from the original Rs 88 crore, official sources have confirmed.

Most of the physical work, including the building of platforms at the stations on the route, is over, and even workers are deployed at new stops between Fazilka and Abohar. Only the train isn't operational.

The opening of the rail link will give people on the entire western border of the country, especially the army, a strong mode of transport.

"It will open avenues for trade and faster trains in the region," said Ashok Sharma, a businessman of Abohar. "We'll have more intense business in Abohar and Fazilka. The people of Abohar will no longer have to catch train from Ferozepur or Bathinda."

The case to open the rail link is pending with senior authorities in New Delhi, other senior authorities confirmed.

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