The city got two new trains - a daily link with Jaipur and a weekly express to Ramnagar in Uttarakhand - in the railway budget announced on Wednesday. In last budget, nine new trains were announced from the city, of which eight have already started and the ninth is expected to chug off next month.
Local MP and former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal - who had presented the last rail budget before he had to resign following a bribery scandal involving his nephew - said the daily Chandigarh-Jaipur Intercity Express would play a vital role in boosting business as well as tourism in both cities. The weekly Ramnagar Express was a long-pending demand of people from Uttrakhand living in the city, he said. As per the announcement, the Jaipur train would go via Jhajjar, and the Ramnagar train would move via Saharanpur and Moradabad. The timings and other details would come later.
Welcoming the move, Manmohan Singh, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chandigarh, agreed with Bansal that the Jaipur train would lend a boost to business. "In the last one year, Chandigarh, which was considered off the main GT rail-road link, has come back to the mainstream," he said. Station superintendent RK Dutta also said the two new trains would open up the tourism sector.
City-based activist-advocate Ajay Jagga said the interim railway budget was on expected lines in view of the coming general elections, and "as such it's a populist budget with no hike in passenger fares and freight". He added that the budget had not provided anything for infrastructure at the Chandigarh railway station, "which is disappointing, as Chandigarh is in the process of getting world heritage status from Unesco".