Transforming the Chandigarh Railway Station into a world class one, a modern signalling facility, a skill development centre to train youths who want to take the railway recruitment examination, a multi-modal service to people once the track to Katra was complete — these are some of the proposals that were made in the past Rail Budgets, but on which work has not started yet.
When Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda presents the Rail Budget on Tuesday, the city will look for steps to turn these projects into reality.
The announcement to make the Chandigarh Railway Station a world class station was made by Mamata Banerjee in her rail budget in 2009. The proposal included upgradation of facilities, a shopping mall, a food court as well the connectivity to the airport. In the last five years, nothing has been done.
Most other proposals were made by Pawan Bansal in his rail budget last year. Bansal had also proposed setting up of base kitchen in the city in order to improve the quality of food served on trains, apart from facilities for renovation of pantry cars. None has been implemented.
A Chandigarh-Haridwar train was also announced in last year’s budget, which is yet to see the light of the day.
Three other trains, also announced in 2013, namely from Chandigarh to Jaipur, Chandigarh to Ramnagar and Chandigarh to Katra, have also not started, but sources assured that these are likely to start soon.
Then there are demands and expectations of various sections.
Gurbaksh Rawat, Congress Councillor said, “The number of Uttarakhand residents living in the city is in lakhs. They welcomed last year’s proposal of starting a Chandigarh-Ramnagar special express because Ramnagar connects with the majority of the areas of Uttarakhand. Now, we have proposed trains to Haridwar and Kotdwar.”
Last year, a demand for an afternoon Shatabdi to Delhi was raised, and it was started. The Chandigarh to Ludhiana rail link via Morinda was also made operational last year after 12 years of wait. But the demand for coversion of the Chandigarh to Amritsar Duronto into a Shatabdi was not accepted.