Tribune News Service
Pathankot, April 13
One of the city’s much needed projects — elevation of 4.2-km narrow gauge track running within the municipal limits — is all set to see the light of day, following efforts made by MP Sunny Deol at the central government level and MLA Amit Vij at the state level.
The venture was on the verge of getting derailed, following bureaucratic wrangling and politicking, before the BJP and the Congress decided to bury the hatchet.
The Railway Board informed Deol a detailed project report (DPR) was being jointly prepared by the Northern Railways and the Punjab Government. The board has pegged the estimated cost at Rs 292 crore to be shared equally by the Railways and the state government. MLA Vij said the state had already given “administrative approval for Rs 146 crore.”
“This amount will be deposited with the Railways soon,” he said.
All nine railway crossings close down simultaneously when the Joginder Nagar-Pathankot train passes by, after which the town becomes “static and economically unviable” for six-eight hours every day. Traffic jams are the order of the day and real estate prices have fallen.
The proposal for the track’s elevation has been hanging fire for the past three decades.
In the period ranging from the 60s till the 90s, the city’s economy flourished on the basis of timber, transport and tourism. All these businesses started floundering about three decades ago, when the frequency of the train was increased. “Once the venture is given practical shape, the three businesses will see a revival,” said Kartik Wadhera, a hotelier.
“The main advantage of the raised track is that there will be no need to acquire land. This is indeed a paradigm shift from the regular construction practices of the Railways, which include building of over bridges and underpasses,” said Pankaj Joshi, Deol’s PA.