Uncertainty looms large over the future of a number of projects in the city beautiful amid speculations that four-time Member of Parliament and union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is on his way out in the wake of railgate cash-for-post scandal involving his nephew Vijay Singla.
Vijay Singla was caught by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on May 3 at his Sector 28 office accepting Rs 90-lakh bribe from a railway official allegedly in lieu of assurance to secure him a plum post.
Bansal had announced to upgrade railway infrastructure in the region, especially Chandigarh, after taking over as the railway ministry and if he is asked to step down, the projects may get a jolt.
During his four terms as MP, Bansal had been promising better rail connectivity and upgradation of the city railway station and after taking over as railway minister about six months back, he started working on this front.
Bansal had defeated the anti-incumbency wave and made it to the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh seat for the third consecutive time in 2009. Bansal was at loggerheads with the then UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) and threw a spanner in majority of development projects proposed by the latter.
There had been an unending debate and variance between Rodrigues and Bansal, over the need for mega projects and land acquisition. It was the local MP's disinterest that no major project came to Chandigarh. The city only got green parks and community centres.
Bansal was against flyovers in the city and instead proposed elevated roads on international pattern to streamline traffic. But the city has neither got flyovers nor elevated roads till date.
Bansal was also not able to push the Metro project, another option to address the existing traffic problem. The MP had also proposed four air-conditioned vegetable and fruit malls in the city, but no steps were taken in this regard.
Future of proposed trains uncertain
In case Bansal has to step down as railway minister, better rail connectivity in the region may remain a dream. The future of new trains announced by the minister, such as Sai Nagar Shirdi Express (bi-weekly) from Kalka; Katra-Kalka Express (bi-weekly) and Una/Nangal Dam-Hazoor Sahib Nanded Express (weekly) via Anandpur Sahib, Morinda, Chandigarh, Ambala, and Chandigarh-Amritsar Intercity Express, will be jeopardised.
The railway minister had announced setting up of a modern signalling equipment facility through public private partnership (PPP) mode at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore. The city was also selected for setting up of an institute to impart skills to the youth in railway-related trades under the national skill development programme of the railway ministry. There was also proposal to double the Dapper-Chandigarh track.
city got under Bansal?
City rail connectivity with rest of the country bettered.
Afternoon Shatabdi was introduced.
Chandigarh Shatabdi was the first one to get Anubhuti luxury coaches.
Chandigarh-Amritsar train got a halt at SAS Nagar.