Reacting on the Union Rail Budget, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the Himachal Pradesh was ignored on the issue of expanding Rail network.
Chief Minister, in his press communiqué said that the hill people who had hopes pinning on the Prime Minister’s promises he made in his election speeches during Himachal visit to the State fell flat to the ground as the expectations of the people were back-tracked on the very issue regarding expansions or convergence of existing rail tracks into broad gauge.
The State Government had repeatedly taken up the matter with Centre Government, but of no avail, CM added. The State had only around 300 kilometers of rail track and except assurances and tall promises nothing concrete has been done on the ground except announcing surveys.
Virbhadra Singh said that the Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri-Leh, high elevation and all weather rail line found no mention in the Budget without realizing the fact that the Line was important from strategic point of view. The China on one hand was building a strong road and rail network along the International borders but the Union Government gave deaf ear to the voice of the hill people.
He said that the State preferred to connect Mid-Himachal with a rail link so that the people of the State could get the facility but all the demands and pleas were overlooked.
The Kalka-Shimla rail line was constructed in 1898 by Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Company and was surveyed by a ‘measure stick’ by one, Bhalku and today when the modern technology was available within the Country itself, why the demands of the hill people were being ignored, he added.
The Kalka Shimla track was only 96 kilometers and now when it has been declared a heritage track it can not be converted into broad gauge and much similar is the situation with Pathankot-Jogindernagar rail line, which had no mention in the budget.
The People were expecting extension of Una-Talwara rail link uptill Pathankot and just were fully confident of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri rail link and the one to Industrial hub of Himachal i.e. to Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh area which remained in the shelves and surveys, and nothing more than a Star light, a silver lining, shown to the people of the State.
Himachal Pradesh was known for places of its religious importance but no such rail project found place in the budget. Moreover, if the Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri-Leh rail link would have been cleared it would have not only given boost to tourism industry but would also have added to the economy of the State, he said.
The religious circuit of Himachal Pradesh was ignored completely despite the fact that the neighbouring state got five new trains which clearly indicated the step motherly treatment meted to the State.