Chandigarh-Baddi Rail line gets special status

CHANDIGARH: To speed up the land acquisition process for the Chandigarh-Baddi railway line, Union railway ministry has accorded it the status of ‘special railway project’, said northern railway general manager (GM) T P Singh on Saturday.

GM Singh said he held a meeting with the construction office on Saturday at Chandigarh railway station, to review the projects of the region, including the Chandigarh-Baddi line. According to him, the new status meant that whenever land is to be acquired for the project, paper work for notification and such will be directly issued by railways, instead of waiting for the government clearance.

The Chandigarh-Baddi project, estimated to cost Rs 1,540 crore, has three shareholders — Railways, Haryana and Himachal Pardesh governments. It’s 28km stretch, of which 25km lies in Haryana and three in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal has already given its share of Rs 45 crore for the land acquisition, but Haryana is yet to acquire land for the project.

According to sources in the railways, Chandigarh-Baddi project was planned in 2007 but is yet to start because of Haryana. But with the special project status, railway can now begin the land acquisition process itself, said the sources, adding that the status also lets off railways from having to conduct social impact survey for the land acquisition.

A dedicated railway link for Baddi was a long-pending demand of the industrialists of the area. The rail connectivity would benefit more than 4,000 industrialists and would also solve the problem of traffic congestion in Pinjore and Baddi road. At present, approximately more than 500 containers go out of Baddi every month by road.

In 2009, project ran into trouble when it was found out that the land required for the project has been earmarked for a mega housing project, Prideasia, a joint venture between Parsvnath Builders and the Chandigarh Administration.