Bathinda, January 13
Ten years after the much-hyped project to provide rail connectivity to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, one of the five temporal seats of the Sikhs, failed to take off, the district administration has started work on a new proposal of the project.
Bathinda Deputy Commissioner Shoukat Ahmed Parray said “We have received a letter from the Railway Ministry in this regard and the work on the proposal is in the initial stage. We are currently examining the cost on this project.”
In 2013, the then Union Minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal, had sanctioned a 34-km rail link from Maur to Rama via Talwandi Sabo. After conducting a location survey, a status report was handed over to the state government in August 2016.
The survey proceedings were halted due to opposition from farmers. Residents of various villages on the route resented the acquisition of their fertile land, after which the project was put on the backburner.
If Takht Damdama Sahib gets the rail connectivity then it is expected to boost pilgrim tourism in Talwandi Sabo and give an economic push to the town. However, at present in absence of a railway link, pilgrims coming to Damdama Sahib, have to deboard a train at Bathinda, 30 km from Takht and then they have to take a bus or a cab to reach there.
Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo is the only Takht that is not connected with a rail link. All other Takhts — Harmandar Sahib, Kesgarh Sahib, Hazur Sahib (Nanded) and Patna Sahib — have direct rail connectivity.
No direct connectivity
Of the five temporal seats of the Sikhs, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib is the only one without direct rail connectivity, while some others also have air connectivity
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