Shimla : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has requested the central government to take steps to expand the railway network in the hill state.
In a letter to Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee, Dhumal asked the railways to make provisions in its budget for 2009-10 for the construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri, Ghanauli-Baddi, Nangal-Talwara and Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail lines.
“The construction of the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri rail line was announced in the budget for 2008-09. The estimated cost of the line was Rs.1,046 crore (Rs.10.46 billion) and the railways had approved of Rs.350.33 crore (Rs.3.5 billion) for this. Now, sufficient funds should be provided so that work on the project starts quickly,” he said in the letter.
Regarding the construction of the Chandigarh-Baddi broad-gauge rail line, Dhumal said the project was sanctioned in 2007-08 budget but Chandigarh has expressed its reservations in providing land for this purpose. “Now to connect the industrial area of Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, the railways has given an alternative proposal to provide a link for it from Ropar district in Punjab. For this, sufficient funds are required.”
Himachal Pradesh is also pursuing the construction of 460-km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line that would provide an all-weather connectivity to tribal areas of both Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, that otherwise remain cut off for over eight months a year.
“The rail line would play an important role for the movement of armed personnel, equipment and essential commodities to border areas that are close to Pakistan and China,” the chief minister noted.