Twelve years after it was discontinued, union minister of railways Sadananda Gowda is expected to flag off the Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabdi Express fron Bathinda on October 31. But the mystery over its halt at Mansa railway station is not yet over.
In 2002, Delhi-bound Shatabdi Express was flagged off by then railway minister Nitish Kumar from Bathinda railway station, which was supposed to run five days a week but, due to lack of passengers, it was discontinued after 15 days. This train had five stops at Barnala, Dhuri, Patiala, Rajpura and Ambala during its to and fro Bathinda-New Delhi journey.
A senior official at Bathinda railway junction confirmed that the train would have five stoppages, including at Mansa. "The train will start from Bathinda and reach New Delhi via Mansa, Jakhal, Jind and Rohtak. This train will stop at all the district headquarters and later it might have a few more halts," said the officer.
He further said that it was not sure whether the minister would arrive in Bathinda to flag off the train as it is possible that he might do the same from New Delhi station. "We are having a meeting on October 28 with the DRM, Ambala division, after which the whole plan and schedule will be announced," said the officer.
Deputy commissioner Pravin Kumar Thind and legislator Prem Kumar Mittal, who visited the railway station, Mansa, were, however, unsure of the train's halt at Mansa. "It will be clear by Monday whether the train will stop at Mansa station or not. Right now, as per the schedule, the train will depart from Bathinda at 11 in the morning. We will demand that the departure time should either be early in the morning or late in the evening," said the deputy commissioner.
The MLA, however, said that the union railway minister will arrive at Bathinda junction to flag off the train and denied that the flag-off ceremony will be done at New Delhi junction. "We are sure that the minister will arrive here and will be accompanied by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, union food processing minister." He, however, avoided commenting on the issue whether Mansa will be a stoppage for of the new train.