SHIMLA: Construction of Una-Hamirpur rail line has become a political issue with assembly elections nearing. While Hamirpur MP of BJP Anurag Thakur is claiming that Unionministry of railways has approved the construction of 50km line that would cost around Rs 2815 crore, Congress government has now raised questions mark on the MP’s claim by stating that railways has not done detailed survey that from where from the line will pass.
It was on February 4 that Anurag Thakur had issued a written statement claiming that Rs 400 crore has been sanctioned in the Union Budget for 2017-18 for the rail project in the state. He said that in June last year survey for Una-Hamirpur rail line was completed and in the recent Union Budget its construction too has been approved.
Anurag Thakur had claimed that Hamirpur parliamentary constituency would be the first in state where all three districts-Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur- would be connected through railway line.
But on Friday, Congress government of state issued a statement in which it was claimed that Railway has only made a token provision of Rs one crore for the Una-Hamirpur line in 2017-18 Union Budget. It said that Railways has not done detailed survey that from where the rail line will pass.
Statement issued by a government spokesperson further said that state government has been taking up the issue of construction of various railway lines in Himachal Pradesh like Nagal-Talwara, Chandigarh-Baddi, Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri from time to time with the Union Ministry of Railways, however, the progress of construction of these rail lines is very slow in the state.
Non-expansion of railway in Himachal Pradesh is a major issue and BJP leaders from state earlier used to blame successive Congress governments at Centre for ignoring the interest of Himachal Pradesh by not providing new lines but since coming to power in 2014, now Congress accusing BJP led NDA government of doing same with Himachal Pradesh.
While addressing BJP’s Parivartan Rally at Mandi on October 18 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Indian Railways had conceived Nangal-Talwara project in 1981and 35 years later when he asked about the fate of this project he was informed that in all these years initial cost of this project was has been escalated from initial Rs 34 crore to Rs 2100 crore.
He had said similarly, Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri rail line was conceived around 10 years back at a cost of around Rs 3000 crore but after elections same was shelved. Modi had said that now government is again starting work on this project.