The inconvenience caused to thousands of commuters due to suspension of rail services following the Jat agitation in Haryana has once again brought the demand of Patti-Ferozepur railway link back into focus. The Congress leaders of Tarn Taran want the work on the construction of the link to be started at the earliest.
While putting forward this demand, the Congress leaders have pointed out that the link had already been given a green signal by the Union Government.
In 2013, the then railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while presenting the Railways Budget in Parliament had announced the Patti-Ferozepur rail link.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) members of the area Gurminder Singh Rataul and Harminder Singh Gill have appealed to railway minister Suresh Prabhu to take up this link on a priority basis. The link has become all the more vital after the recent Jat agitation in Haryana which led to suspension of both road and rail links to Delhi, which caused a lot of harassment to the people from the northern states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
“Had this link been there, rail traffic from Jammu and from Amritsar could easily have been diverted via Patti, Ferozepur, Bathinda, Ganganagar and through other cities of Rajasthan. Trains could then have reached the national capital via Rajasthan. This link will in particular be helpful for trains moving down south to Mumbai and other places as it will shorten the distance between Amritsar and the southern cities,” the two leaders said while talking to HT on Wednesday.
Rataul pointed out that the Patti-Ferozepur link was a mere 23.1 km stretch and the survey for this linkage was conducted in 2010. However, the survey report lay with the railway ministry until Bansal took it up in 2013 following a request from Rajya Sabha member and for mer union minister Manohar Singh Gill, whose ancestral village falls in the district.
According to Rataul, the Planning Commission in 2013 even approved ` 149.7 crore for this vital linkage. However, nothing has moved at the ground level since then, he lamented.
Gill said barring the construction of a rail bridge over the Satluj river near Sabrahawa village, the project will not take much time to complete. Patti is already linked to Tarn Taran and Amritsar by rail, he said while pointing out that by road it takes a minimum of two hours to cover the distance between Patti and Ferozepur and if this link is established it will take a mere 20 minutes or so.
According to Rataul, this link can help decongest the AmritsarDelhi and Jammu-Delhi rail routes. Presently, all trains bound for Mumbai, Gujarat and other southern states from Jammu and Amritsar take the Delhi route. “The southbound trains from Jammu and Amritsar can reach their respective destinations by using the Patti-Ferozepur link and viceversa. The link will shorten the distance between Mumbai and Amritsar by more than 200 km,” Ratual added.
This rail link will provide quick and smooth movement of traffic from Amritsar and Tarn Taran to Western Coast of India via Rajasthan and Gujarat by cutting short travelling time and decongestion of the main line to Delhi.
It will also provide quick movement for defence personnel and army machineries during any emergencies. Besides, it will also shorten the distance to Gujarat port town of Kandla.