Decks cleared for rail link between Baddi, Chandigarh

Chandigarh Baddi MetroAll decks have been cleared to provide rail connectivity to the state’s industrial hub of Baddi with land owners today giving their consent to acquire their land at nearly four times the prevailing circle rates.

The decision was arrived at a meeting of the negotiation committee held today at Baddi under the chairmanship of the Nalagarh SDM. The 33-km rail line connecting Baddi-Chandigarh has been hanging fire since the last over a year due to non-finalisation of rates for land acquisition in the 3-km portion lying in Himachal. Though the Railways had deposited Rs 45 crore for land acquisition, since there was no consensus on the rate of land, it had delayed the process of carving out this rail line.

Though only 3-km track of the proposed rail line lies in Himachal, it involves 367 bighas of land spread across nine villages. The survey for this route has already been completed and as per the route carved out, the rail track will be laid through Surajpur Chandi-Dhamal near HMT at Pinjore-Lohgarh-Khera-Tanda-Joluwaal-Kona-Marrawala and it will finally touch Shitalpur in Baddi abutting the Container Corporation of India’s depot and will further lead to Haripur-Sandholi. Two railway crossings would be provided at Nanakpur and Baddi. The highest circle rate of land in question was Rs 34.80 lakh. In Baddi-Shitalpur, Swarajmajra -Labana, Chak Jungi and Kalyanpur, the existing circle rate was Rs 21 lakh per bigha while it was Rs 7. 20 per bigha for Landewaal village, Rs 28.80 per bigha for Billanwala Gujra village, Rs 21 lakh per bigha for Haripur Sandholi and Sandholi village, Rs 18 lakh per bigha for Kenduwaal village.

SDM Harikesh Meena said since the circle rate of Kenduwaal village was found to be less, it would be revised after taking into consideration the rates of the adjoining villages and the same would be notified soon. He said a consensus had been arrived at for the remaining villages.

The railways have already deposited Rs 45 crore for acquiring land and a similar amount will soon be made available by the state government as per the agreement.

The meeting was attended by the officials from the Railways, revenue, local MLA and affected land owners.

Hopes of investors in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) to get rail connectivity have once again revived as a decks for the 13-km stretch of the Surajpur-Baddi track also has been cleared by the railway board.

Though feasibility surveys had been conducted earlier too when a rail link was announced in earlier budgets but investors had been left high and dry as no budgetary provision had been set aside for this coveted line.

Laying of this track would benefit thousands of industrial units of the BBN who were hitherto dependent on trucks for transporting their goods. Out of 13 km, only a 3-km-length falls in the boundary of Himachal Pradesh and the remaining lies in Haryana.

The state government has already announced to pool in 50 per cent of the share for this track in the form of bearing the cost of land. The ministry’s approval for the project is awaited. The previous status report of the Northern Railway stated that the government had failed to provide the requisite land in Chandigarh as per the original alignment, following which the Railway Board had subsequently decided to link Baddi from Ghanauli on the Sirhind-Nangaldam section. Preliminary survey was accordingly done and report was also submitted to the Railway Board. Further possibility to link the BBN area was explored through an alternate route and another location survey of linking Baddi from Surajpur, 3 km ahead of Kalka.

The state government has also cleared hurdles of land with the Haryana Government for the 13-km portion connecting Surajpur to Baddi-Barotiwala.

The development of a double-lane track would facilitate the industry as goods worth one lakh tonnes are being transported from the BBN on a daily basis. “Investors in the Paonta Sahib industrial belt are awaiting for rail connectivity. Despite several surveys earlier and announcements in rail budgets, little progress has been made in this direction,” said Tajinder Goyal, state president, Laghu Udyog Bharti.Arun Rawat, state president of Confederation of Indian Industries, said the aggressive follow-up of the two rail links in a time-bound manner would help speed up its work and help provide rail connectivity, which was the need of the hour, given the vast quantum of goods transported from these areas on a daily basis.

The general secretary of the Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Industries Association, Y.S.Guleria, voiced his concern for a metro rail connecting the BBN to the tricity to ease movement of people on a daily basis.

Govt forms joint venture with Railways to push rail projects

The Railways has signed an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) with Haryana to develop the rail infrastructure and network in the state.Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu dubbed the development as a “great step” towards quick execution of rail projects.Following today’s agreement, Haryana has become the second state after Odisha to form a joint venture with the Railways.With the formation of the JV, many projects like expansion of the rail network and modernisation of stations in the state will be taken up in a focused manner, said a senior official of the Railway Board.Indicating that several projects for laying new tracks, doubling lines and gauge conversion would need about Rs 3.5 lakh crore, the official said:“This has necessitated partnering with states for resource mobilisation.”According to the railways, six more states have given consent for forming joint ventures with the Railways.A joint venture company envisages equal equity participation of the Railways and the state concerned. Each JV would have an initial paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore based on the quantum of projects to be undertaken.

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