Punjab perhaps could already be the best connected state in the country and still more is in the pipeline with two lane roads being widened to 4-lane and 4-lane to 6-lane and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promising to take up the vital missing rail links. Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Akali Dal MP from Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh Chandumajra have been making consistent efforts in this regard without hankering after publicity.
Prabhu has made just one suggestion to Chandumajra while committing to take up the vital missing links and that is about getting work done on these links one by one in every rail budget. This he conveyed to Chandumajra recently when he had approached him in this regard.
Top priority is likely to be given to Mohali-Rajpura rail link that perhaps is the shortest. The land would have to be provided by the state government. There is nothing wrong in the state government sharing part of the cost of such vital development projects. With the completion of this important link, not just Malwa but even Bikaner in Rajasthan would have direct connection to Chandigarh. Presently, trains to this region from Chandigarh are routed via Ambala Cantt. Such a link would bring down the journey between Bathinda and Chandigarh via a faster train to about three hours. This would go a long way in easing congestion on the road.
Feasibility study of this link has already been carried out according to which the returns would be more than average benchmark of the railways and projected at 7.7 per cent. The feasibility study of all the missing links perhaps would indicate almost the same percentage of viability.
Other similar links that are awaiting nod from the railways include Rahon-Samrala and Patti-Ferozepur. The Patti link would provide direct link to Majha to ports in Gujarat that would give a big boost to the industrial sector. Amritsar is a major centre for rice export too.
Earlier, it was Hirsimrat Kaur Badal with whose efforts Prabhu agreed to resume Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabadi after it had been withdrawn due to non-feasibility.
Punjab has also started re-laying and widening the highways using new technique that is using steel and concrete. Work has already started to replace the existing roads with concrete highways. It is only in Chandigarh in this region where this experiment has been done by constructing about a km long road. Punjab would be the first state in this region that is going ahead to make such a big leap in giving such a massive face lift to connectivity with super highways and rails. Investors can’t ask for more as the state is already surplus in power and connectivity would provide easy access to not only the markets within the country but also foreign lands. Punjab is looking at better days.