Himachal has high hopes from the general budget of the Central Government this year. There is a possibility of getting a budget of 500 crores from the Central Government for the construction of the under-construction Bhanupalli-Bilaspur rail line.
Last year, Rs 420 crore was received from the Center for this project. Prime Minister Modi aims to reach Bilaspur by rail bia 2024.
Strategically very important and much awaited rail line Bilaspur-Manali-Leh is finding it difficult to find a place in the budget this time also.
Its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was ready in December 2022. The Railway Board had handed it over to the Defense Ministry.
According to the DPR, about 100 thousand crore rupees will be spent on bridges, tunnels, civil works, electrical and tele communication, land acquisition and other works in the project.
In the project, 1100-1100 hectares of land will be acquired in Himachal and Ladakh. It also includes 26 percent forest land.
11.5 thousand crore will be spent on land acquisition in the project itself. There will be four sections in this rail line. The first section will be from Bairi to Mandi, second from Mandi to Manali, third from Manali to Upshi and fourth from Upshi to Leh.
After handing over the DPR to the Defense Ministry, the action for its budget was to be completed, but it has not been completed yet.
According to sources, considering the importance of this project, PM Modi may announce the budget before the Lok Sabha elections.
After the change of government in Himachal, now the dream project of Union Minister Anurag Thakur is also hanging in the balance.
To keep this project alive, an amount of one thousand was given for it from the last two budgets, but later Anurag Thakur intervened and got the DPR changed in the year 2022 to reduce the cost of the project. The length of this project was earlier 54 km. Now it is 40.7 kms.
People expected that after changing the DPR, the project would get a place in this budget, but the state government was to have a stake in this project along with the Centre.
On March 10, 2022, the Chief Secretary of the government wrote a letter agreeing to give 25 percent share for this project.
The rate of return of the project is 5.09 percent, but now the government has changed in the state. Now the yes or no of the state government will decide the future of this project.
The Pink Book cost of Una-Hamirpur rail line is Rs 2850 crore, but according to the DPR its cost is around Rs 5821 crore, which has now been reduced to Rs 3687 crore.
Entrepreneurs of the State Hope to Reduce Government Deficit
Industrial sector BBN is expected to reduce the new government deficit from the Union Budget. Industrialists said that there should be a reduction in commercial interest rates after inflation is under control.
Keeping in mind the global recession, government money should be put to good use in strengthening the infrastructure.
Provision of more budget should be made for bulk drug, medical device park and railway project of the central government.
Shailesh Agarwal, former president of BBNIA, said that there should be a budget provision in the Union Budget for the subsidy received under the IDC scheme.
BBNIA President Rajendra Guleria said that a policy should be made for the upliftment of the manufacturing sector. More money should be given to the railway project.
They demanded to increase the income tax limit to five lakhs. Demanded reduction in income tax slab as well.
Doon BJP vice-president and truck operator Krishna Kumar Kaushal said that the central government should reduce the toll on trucks. Diesel and petrol should be brought under the ambit of GST.