M A I N   N E W S

Not much for region
Girja Shankar Kaura & Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/ Chandigarh, February 24
The Railway Budget did not hold much for the northern region. As a slew of trains and projects were announced for the eastern part of the country, mainly West Bengal with an eye on the polls in the state, only a couple of new trains were announced for the northern region.

The northern region, mainly Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, failed to find much favour with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Railway Budget. The region featured poorly in the list of new trains announced today.

One good news came for Chandigarh with the announcement of the Chandigarh-Dehradun train. There had been a demand for this train for several years. A new express train called Peace Express between Kashmir and Kanyakumari has been also been announced, which Mamata Banerjee said would be dedicated to the common man.

For Punjab and Himachal, the minister announced Delhi Sarai Rohilla- Sri Ganganagar Express (tri-weekly) via Bhatinda; Kolkata-Anandpur Sahib-Nangaldam Express (weekly) and Una-Haridwar Link Express (tri-weekly).There was also an announcement for converting of the Ambala Cantt and Jammu stations into world-class stations, a tradition which was started by Mamata’s predecessor Lalu Prasad Yadav.Mamata also said there would be a survey for laying of new lines between Rohtak-Hansi, Bijwasan-Jhajjar-Charkridadri, Delhi, Sohna-Nuh-Ferozepur, Jhirka-Alwar, Ghanoli-Dehradun via Baddi, Nalagarh, Jagadhari, Surajpur-Kala Amb-Paonta Saheb, Bhiwani-Loharu-Pilani-Churu and Hamirpur-Hamirpur Road.Joginder Singh Bhogal, member of the Northern Railways Users Association, said the budget had very little to offer for passengers in the region.

A new express train service has been proposed between Ahmedabad and Udhampur to cater to the needs of men in uniform in the western sector.

The Railway Minister, however, has ignored some of the long-pending demands of the people of the region. There was no mention of the double-tracking of Ambala-Chandigarh-Kalka route, which runs important trains like Shatabadi, Jan Shatabadi and Himalayan Queen.

Similarly, the Railway Minister disappointed the commuters of Rajpura-Patiala route, who have been demanding the double-tracking of the route for the past many years.“There are no trains to Ludhiana. More trains should be introduced or linked with Mohali with the completion of Morinda-Ludhiana track. Besides, the frequency of trains should increase,” said a resident of Mohali. “It would have been great if the Railway Minister had acceded to the long-standing demand of double-tracking of Kalka-Chandigarh-Ambala route. This would have immensely helped traders of northern India”, said Ashok Janardhan, a trader.

Some Cheer

A Chandigarh-Dehradun train
A Kashmir-Kanyakumari Peace Express
A Delhi Sarai Rohilla- Sri Ganganagar Express (tri-weekly) via Bhatinda
A Kolkata-Anandpur Sahib-Nangaldam Express (weekly)
A Una-Haridwar Link Express (tri-weekly)



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