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Politics of credit over rail overbridge

punjab Updated: Feb 15, 2014 23:41 IST
Vishal Rambani

With the general election round the corner, the politics of credit over a rail over bridge has taken centrestage between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the opposition Congress.

The rail overbridge project will be executed on the Sirhind road-Rajpura bypass near the DMW, in Patiala, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the area residents.

The Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal on February 17 will lay the foundation stone for ` 30 crore project, which the local member parliament and minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur has termed her brain child. She claims that she got sanction from the railways for the overbridge.

Reacting on the SAD plans to "steal the credit", Preneet said: "The public knows that who sanctioned this project and got the clearance from the railway ministry. I pursued the project on day-to-day basis at the railway ministry to get a nod for the overbridge and the
underbridge on this location".

"Sukhbir malik hai, jo marzi kar sakda hai(Sukhbir is behaving like owner of state and can do anything)", she reacted on foundation ceremony plan.

"Let the Akalis lay the foundation stone, but Sukhbir must answer that what other projects they have brought for Patiala. All the major grants were shifted to Bathinda and people of Patiala will teach a lesson to the Akalis for neglecting the royal city", she said.
"But I am happy as my area residents will get this overbridge and underbridge", she said.

As per the plan, the basic foundation of the overbridge on the railway lines has to be built by the railways, while the approaches to bridge will be built by the state government.

Defending the foundation-laying ceremony, cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said :"The major funding is being done by the state government. Thus, it is the right of the SAD-BJP govt to lay the foundation stone". He claimed that the swift pursuit by the state government lead to the clearance of the bridge from the railway ministry.

"Preneet has habit of criticizing the SAD-BJP govt, as she is frustrated with the scams of the UPA government and anticipating her defeat. As member parliament for three terms, she has failed to bring a single major project to the city. And when we are undertaking development projects, she want to take credit for it", said Rakhra.

In a bid to nullify the SAD claim, Congress councillor KK Malhotra has already held a road show in the area to claim that Preneet has got the sanction for this project.