This shows the attitude of the central government particularly central Congress
govt. towards peace loving Himachalis.
What should be the strategy of the Himachalis now??
Shimla, July 26
The Government of India has expressed its inability to take up the Bhanupali-Bilaspur rail line as a national project, forcing the state to come up with alternative modes of funding the Rs 1,000-crore scheme.
At a meeting convened by the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office early this month it was made clear that as a matter of policy the Centre was implementing national projects only in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East states. If the same largesse was extended to Himachal Pradesh, other states would also come up with similar demands. The Railways also washed its hand of the project maintaining that its hands were full with projects worth Rs 70,000 crore already in the pipeline.
A follow-up meeting will he held at Delhi next week to work out a funding pattern agreeable to the Centre, the Railways and the state government so that the project which has been hanging fire for the past 15 years could be implemented.
The state has been vigorously pursuing the proposal and it had even carried out a fresh feasibility study which indicated that freight load generated by cement plants coming up in the Darlaghat-Bilaspur-Karsog belt was enough to justify even a double track. However, representatives of the Railways were not convinced and wanted the state to come up with firm assurances from the cement plants that they would transport their product by rail. But the cement manufacturers are not willing to give any such undertaking on the plea that they would do so if the freight was reasonable and economical compared to road transport.
Further, the cost of the project had also been a matter of debate. While the RITES (Rail India Techno- Economic Service) worked out the cost at Rs 1,500 crore, the Railways estimated it at just Rs 800 crore. The two have been asked to reconcile their project reports and work out the cost afresh.
With the Assembly poll drawing near the government is keen to get the project going at the earliest. It has now proposed that the Centre, the Railways and the state should share the cost of the project. It remains to be seen whether the Centre and the Railways agree to it.