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Northern Railway admits to dispute over Baddi link

Further delays are expected in the commencement of work on the proposed Chandigarh-Baddi rail link. After running into controversies over the acquisition of land for the project...

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: February 19, 2009 1:48:44 am

General Manager indicates a re-survey,announces several projects

Further delays are expected in the commencement of work on the proposed Chandigarh-Baddi rail link. After running into controversies over the acquisition of land for the project,the Northern Railway is now open to another survey on the feasibility of the link.

A project of the Himachal Pradesh government,the 34-kilometre rail line is supposed to pass through the states of Haryana,Punjab,Himachal and Chandigarh. At a press conference at the Chandigarh railway station on Wednesday,Northern Railway General Manager Vivek Sahay admitted to a dispute over 5-km land,which is in the UT.

The GM was on a two-day visit of the railway stations under the Northern Division with five teams of senior officials from the Ambala Division. The teams comprised Divisional Railway Manager H K Jaggi,Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Karan Singh,Chief Administrator Dharma Singh,Principal Chief Engineer A K Sharma,Safety Officer A K Chaudhary and IG (Railway Police Force) Pradeep Mehra.

“If required,the proposed Chandigarh-Baddi rail line will be re-surveyed for an alternative route,” said Sahay.

The project ran into controversy because the rail line was to pass through a mega housing project — Prideasia of Parsvnath Developers in collaboration with the Chandigarh Housing Board — at the IT Park. At a recent meeting attended by the chief secretaries of the three states and the UT home secretary,it was conveyed to the railways that UT would not allow the rail line to cross through the project and other forest areas.

Sahay said though the railway project was conceived prior to the housing project,alternative routes were under consideration at present.

The final location survey or the feasibility report for the project was already conducted last year by the Northern Railways. The commencement of the work that was scheduled for early 2009 will now depend on the new feasibility report.

The proposed railway stations on the route are Chandigarh,Saketri,Khuda Ali Sher,Kasauli Punjab,Khokara Nawanhnagar and Baddi as the terminal station.

n Chandigarh-Ludhiana link by ‘11

Talking about another project hanging fire for the last over a decade due to the acquisition of land,Sahay said the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link would be completed in 18-20 months. “The process of land acquisition is almost over as money has been already sanctioned for the remaining Morinda-Sahnewal section,” he said.

* Stations bordering Metro route

With the Metro rail set to chug into the Tricity,Northern Railways will build railway stations adjoining the Metro stations,giving passengers an easy and convenient transit. Sahay told Newsline: “Once the Metro route for the region is decided and there is some clarity on the halts,the railways will certainly work in tandem with the states to have stations near the Metro stations. The same principle is followed in Delhi.”

* Upgraded Ambala link

With the interim rail budget not approving the project to make the Chandigarh-Ambala line double-track,the Northern Division has plans to upgrade it technologically. Sahay said: “Taking into account the high volume of traffic on this route,the division will chalk out some changes in the tracks so that the speed of the trains is maintained. As a result,the track will not be clogged as trains will not have to wait for long for clearance,” said Sahay.

* Plans for city railway station

The Chandigarh railway station will soon be upgraded to world-class standards. There are immediate plans for disabled-friendly foot overbridges,an air-conditioned waiting lounge with the facility of beds,an upgraded parking and scanning machines.

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