Shimla, July 14
Chief Minister PK Dhumal has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give special attention on the expansion of the rail network in the state, which had been ignored since Independence.
In a letter written to the Prime Minister, he has pointed out that over the past 64 years only 44 km of rail track had been laid, and with negligible air connectivity, the state had the dubious distinction of having the least rail and air connectivity. Thanking him for the inauguration of the Amb-Indora railway station early this month by the Minister of State for Railways, he said the new 11.63-km Chururu-Amb section was the third block on the 84-km Nangal to Talwara line and it had taken 37 years to lay 42-km length of the track.
The Chief Minister said Himachal was geographically similar to North-Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir and it deserved subsidies on chopper services on the same pattern. He said the viability-gap funding for operating heli taxis in the state had been agreed by the Planning Commission in 2010, but this commitment was also not being honoured.
The repeated pleas of successive governments for expediting the work on the railway projects had been ignored and even the agreed funding pattern for the Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line had not been accepted.
The plea for extending the rail network to Leh-Ladakh has also not been accepted and the strategic line only finds a mention in the socially desirable networks.
He said China had already created a vast rail network apart from the advanced air connectivity in the adjoining disputed area of Tibet.
The industrial package was to last till March 2013, but it was curtailed till March 2010. This was perhaps the first instance when the Centre itself reduced the period of concession announced by it, he added.
He urged the Prime Minister to address these issues and ensure facilities of subsidised chopper services and restoration of industrial package at the earliest