4 years on, Pattimakhu rail link project in a limbo
State government yet to acquire the land for 25km stretch
AMRITSAR: Announced over four years ago, the Patti-makhu rail link is still hanging fire as the state government is yet to acquire the land for the same.the central government has already released the first installment of ₹299 crore 18 months ago.
The 25-km stretch of the broad-gauge link, between Gharyala railway station on the Amritsar-khemkaran line in Patti, Tarn Taran district and Mallanwala railway station on the Ferozepur-jalandhar line in Makhu, is yet to be acquired.
The link will lessen the distance between two border districts — Ferozepur and Amritsar — from the present 118 km to 86 km. The distance between Amritsar and Mumbai will also be cut down by over 200 km.
Divisional railways manager (DRM), Ferozepur Division, Vivek Kumar, said, “Once the state government acquires the land for the project, we will immediately start the work on the line as we have already received funds from Centre.”
Deputy commissioner (DC), Tarn Taran, Pardeep Kumar Sabarwal, said, “A survey to acquire land has also been conducted from Patti to Makhu.”
Amritsar MP, Gurjit Singh Aujla, said, “The estimated cost of acquiring the land is more than ₹40 crore. I have written to the Centre that the Indian Railways should acquire the land as the project will benefit not only Punjab but five other states also.”
Rajya Sabha MP and BJP state president Shwait Malik said, “The total cost of the project is over ₹1,000 crore. The Centre will release more funds after the is first installment is utilised. It is unfortunate that the state government is unable to even grant ₹40 crore for acquiring the land.”
“The trains from Jammu and Kashmir, instead of taking the Delhi route, can go to Mumbai via Amritsar, Patti, and Ferozepur,” he said.
Referring to the commercial importance of this link, Malik said that the distance to the sea ports of Mumbai and Kandla (Gujarat) will also be reduced. The fruit growing areas of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir too will benefit from the link, he said.