4 years on, Patti­Makhu rail link project in a limbo

State gov­ern­ment yet to ac­quire the land for 25­km stretch

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab - Anil Sharma anil.ku­mar@htlive.com

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.

COM­MER­CIAL IM­POR­TANCE

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.

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