As the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre is set to present its first railway budget on Tuesday, the city is hopeful for better rail connectivity and funds for infrastructural development for the local railway station.
The last railway budget presented by former local member Parliament and then union railway minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal, had a lot of things in the kitty for city residents. Ten new trains were announced, besides several other proposals for infrastructural development.
While all trains except the Kalka-Katra train - which is expected shortly - started from Chandigarh, but the ‘world class’ tag for the city railway station is still a distant dream.
The parking area remains a mess, particularly at peak hours, as there is no headway on the proposal for a multilevel parking.
Divisional railway manager (DRM), Ambala, AK Kathpal informed the local media about the extension of the parking area recently, but there is still no concrete proposal.
Several other proposals for infrastructural development which were announced during the last union railway budget have been pending. For instance, the work of a modern-signalling equipment factory at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore has not begun.
There was another budget announcement about an institute to teach skills to youth for railway-related trades. Work on double lines for the Dappar-Chandigarh track has also been pending.
In the last interim budget presented by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in February this year, there was announcement of starting a high speed rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh. The status about the proposal is still unclear.
City resident Vijay said the mere entry to the station punctured the image of a modern facility.
Security and parking remained a big problem as one couldn’t leave their car even for a few hours without having to worry about the same, he said, hoping that the new MP lobbied well for city’s requirement.
“The condition of the station from Panchkula-side is equally worrisome,” said SK Nayar, president of NGO Citizen Welfare Association, Panchkula.
Another resident, Ajay Jagga, said the city expected the new railway minister to take care of their needs, if not desires. “We need a better railway station with modern amenities. More funds are required for several proposals announced during the last budget which were not fulfilled.
Safety and security of the passengers as well as the hygienic condition should be the top priority of the new government,” he added.