The 25.47-km Ferozepur-Patti rail link project has been in limbo due to lack of funds even though it was given a green signal in the 2013 rail budget by then Union government, as the Punjab government failed to release the matching grant, besides facilitating land required for the project.
The Ferozepur-Patti rail link, very vital from the commercial point of view, would decrease the distance between the northern states, including Punjab, capitals of Gujarat and Maharashtra, besides reducing distance between Ferozepur and Amritsar from 118 km to mere 86 km. It would also inter-connect the Malwa and the Majha regions of Punjab. Moreover, it will also shorten the distance between Jammu and Mumbai by 267 km.
The above rail link would inter-connect Srinagar, Anantnag, Udhampur, Jammu, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Batala, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Patti, Ferozepur, Guruharsahai, Jalalabad, Fazilka and Abohar to Mumbai via Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan) which would ultimately promote the overall development of the entire backward border belt of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan.
“Following the rail connectivity, the speeding of traffic will get momentum on this route, hence perishable fruits and vegetables will be delivered in Gujarat and Mumbai within 48 to 72 hours. The export of basmati rice and other items from this region via Kandla port in Gujarat may further get eased out,” Sameer Mittal, a prominent businessman of region.
“In the 2013, the then Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, gave a green signal to Ferozepur-Patti rail link, but nothing has been initiated on ground for the project, following failure of the Punjab government to provide a matching grant for about Rs 150 crore,” revealed the official sources.
Even from the defence point of view, the above rail link was extremely vital to join the two strategically located border districts of Ferozepur and Amritsar, besides connecting them to Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, experts pointed out.
“The dilapidated economical conditions of the vicinity may get boosted with the connecting of Ferozepur-Patti Rail link, a long-pending demand of the people,” said Parminder Singh Pinki, Congress MLA, Ferozepur (Urban).
When contacted, Anuj Prakash, divisional railway manager, Ferozepur division, acknowledged that the higher railways authorities have given nod to the project.
“We have already done a survey for the same, but the state government so far has failed to facilitate land, besides the required matching funding. Hence nothing further could be done into the matter,” he added.
Speaking on the issue Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma said he had personally taken up the matter with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. “The Punjab government has avowed to acquire and provide land free of cost to the Railways for the rail link, but has asked the railway authorities to facilitate 100 percent funding for the same,” Sharma said.
“This rail link will prove to be quite beneficial, especially from the point of view commerce and defence. I will pursue this with the Union railway minister and get the entire funding released for project very soon,” assured the BJP chief.