Himachal rail network expansion: Govt wants Centre to bear more land cost

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: May 25, 2015 20:32 IST

Struggling to make a headway in expansion of railways ever since country's independence, Himachal Pradesh will once again knock the door of central government to bear the cost of land being acquired for expansion of the rail network.

The hill state wants Centre to share more of the land cost.

In accordance with the laid conditions, both Centre and state governments have to share equal cost for the land acquisition. "It's that the Centre should bear more cost for the land acquisition. The rates of land have gone manifold particularly after implementation of land acquisition fell through," said a government functionary, who requested anonymity.

Himachal Pradesh chief secretary P Mitra will meet officials of northern railway on Wednesday and will likely raise the issues that have hidnered the growth of railways in the hill state. There are scores of requests related to forest clearance lying pending with the environment ministry in many areas where the rail network is proposed to be expanded.

Many cases are lying pending for more than last three years.

Besides, upkeep of Shimla-Kalka rail line will figure prominently in the talks. Since the Shimla-Kalka rail line is one of oldest in northern India, it's famous with the visitors. Often tourists frequent the railway line running close to Shimla-Kalka national highway, which also poses the risk of accidents. Apart from this, the tourists leave behind litter along the rail line.

The work on the Kalka-Shimla line began in 1898 and the track was inaugurated in 1903. The state houses United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - designated world heritage sites - the 96-km Kalka-Shimla track. The narrow gauge rail line is in bad shape. The onselte rail engine often develops snags. Government will also raise the issue related to Una-Talwara and Chandigarh-Baddi rail links.

Survey work for the 84-km Una-Talwara rail line was started on October 29, 1956, and its foundation stone was laid on December 22, 1974, by the then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra at Amb. The track will provide an alternate route to the Jalandhar-Pathankot-Jammu section for the armed forces.

It took 37 years to lay 42-km rail track from Nangal to Amb-Andora in three phases. It remains to be seen that how many years it would take the railways to complete this track.

Union rail ministry had made budgetary provisions for expansion of both the rail lines many years back, but due to one or the other reasons the network has not been expanded.

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