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Punjab ignored in the railway budget: Bajwa

Chandigarh: The Punjab Congress President, Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, today said this border state had been derailed in the railway budget presented in the Lok Sabha. He took strong notice of the fact that no new rail line had been announced for this border state. This budget had failed to reflect any new thinking on the part of the Narendra Modi government. Reacting strongly to the railway budget, Mr Bajwa said Punjab badly needed better train connectivity but the problem was the Akali Dal-BJP government had never taken up this issue convincingly with the centre as there were reasons for that. He said the family of Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, had total control over private road transport in the state. Not only that. The Badal family had total monopoly so far as the plying of luxury buses were concerned on all the trunk routes. Better rail connectivity would badly hit transport business of the Badal family. He said in case Chandigarh was connected to Rajpura, a distance of about 40 km, this would provide direct rail access to the entire Malwa reason which was about half of the state. There was no indication about the fate of Beas-Qadian rail link that was announced by the UPA government. He pointed out that the UPA had included Amritsar-Chandigarh-Delhi circuit under the bullet trains project but the present regime had taken up only the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector for the reason best known to the people in this country. He made it clear he did not have any objection to that but Delhi-Amritsar bullet train proposal should also have been given the further push. He said not only the bullet train project, Punjab had been ignored even in the matter of new high speed trains. Similar was the case with the demand for extending freight corridor from Ludhiana to Attari. He said even the Badal government had been making this demand earlier but it had failed to get this link included in the budget. The PPCC chief commented that the very first test of the Modi government had given the impression that it suffered from the bankruptcy of new ideas as the budget speech was just what had been said and proposed by the UPA government in the last year’s budget. He lambasted Mr. Badal for not presenting the case of Punjab strongly as it clashed with the business interests of his family, despite the fact that a member of the Badal family, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, was part of the Modi cabinet. He demanded that the Chandigarh-Rajpura link and the new lines announced in earlier rail budgets for Punjab should get priority.
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