Good news for those living in the industrial townships of Baddi-Barotiwala, as the railway board has finally accorded its nod to provide a rail link from Surajpur, three kilometre ahead of border town Kalka.
The state government would now work out modalities with the Haryana government to acquire land for the 15-kilometre rail line connecting Surajpur to Baddi-Barotiwala.
The state government has agreed to the bear the cost of the land acquisition in Haryana.
"The state will bear the cost of land acquisition and further modalities will soon be worked out with the Haryana government," chief secretary Sudripta Roy told HT.
Earlier, there was a proposal to link Baddi-Barotiwala from Chandigarh.
Roy headed Himachal's official delegation, where they held a two-hour long meeting with railway board chairman Arunendra Kumar.
Principal secretary to the chief minister VC Pharkha and resident commissioner PC Dhiman also accompanied Roy in the meeting.
The meeting with the railway board chairman was consequent to chief minister Virbhadra Singh's meeting with railway minister Malikarjuna Khargey in New Delhi last Thursday.
The chief secretary also took up the issue of delay of construction of Nangal Talwara rail link.
"The railway board chairman said that speedy work on the Nangal Talwara rail link will provide an alternate rail route connecting Delhi-Pathankot via Mukerian. However, it expressed its displeasure over the high cost of compensation being demanded by locals for giving their land for the same. The cost of Nangal-Talwara rail line was estimated at Rs. 700 crore, but the cost has escalated manifold.
The state government expressed its concern over the slow pace of work, as only 44-kilometre broad gauge line has been trenched so far in the past 33 years.
The state government also discussed in detail the possibility of realigning the rail line, as the delay by Punjab in acquiring a portion of the land for the track was further delaying the execution of work.
During the meeting, the railway board assured the delegation that the construction work on the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri line would be expedited. The project is hanging in the air for the past 25 years. Himachal government officials were able to clear major financial hurdles which hampered the construction of the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur rail line.
Earlier, the HP government had to share 25% of the total construction cost, while 50% was to be borne by the Centre. Now, the state government would have to bear 25% of the cost and the rest 75% would be provided by the railways.