Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday blamed Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for delay in the resumption of train service between Chandigarh and Ferozepur via Ludhiana.
Amarinder supported the agitation launched by the residents of Ferozepur and surrounding areas demanding the early start of the service between the two cities.
In a statement issued here, Amarinder said Ferozepur residents felt Badal was discouraging the resumption of the train which was announced by the railway minister in his budget in July.
"Ideally, the CM should have pressed for the early start of the train when it had been approved in the rail budget," remarked Amarinder and added, "But, knowing Badals' business interests which will be affected by this train, they will be the last people to allow it to run".
The former CM pointed out that the train fare was only `90 as against the `400 charged by the Badals' transport company for travelling between Ferozepur and Chandigarh.
Besides, he added, train travel is faster, safer and comfortable. "Since Badals know that their business will suffer once the train becomes regular, they are not allowing it to resume."
The railways had started a special train between the two cities via Ludhiana, in March for about a month-and-a-half. This, he said, came as great relief for Ludhiana and Ferozepur residents.
But, the Badals ensured that the service was taken off so that their business remained intact, he said.
Saying that he would soon lead a delegation from Ferozepur, which will include Guru Harsahai MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, to the railway minister, Amarinder claimed he will ensure that the train service is started at the earliest.