Despite announcement, Kalika- Katra train fails to run

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Mar 6: Despite the announcement of former Railway Minister, Sadanand Gowda during the presentation of Railway budget in Parliament in July last year proposing Devi Circuit for Jammu connecting holy town of Katra with various railway stations of country and running new trains including Kalika (Chandigarh) –Katra but even after the passage of eight months the same was yet to see the light of the day.
The Railway Ministry not only failed to run the Kalika –Katra train which has been a long pending demand of the people of J&K as well as the Union Territory of Chandigarh but what is more surprising is that no mention of it was made by the present Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu while presenting the Railway budget in the Lok Sabha for year 2015-2016 last month.
The running of Chandigarh-Jammu train has been a long pending demand of the people of the State and even before the presentation of Railway budget during the UPA Government by the then Railway Minster, P K Bansal in February 2013 various political leaders and representatives of trade and other organizations had made a representation before him in this regard.
Mr Prabhu while presenting the Railway budget this time has disappointed the people of the State as well as those of UT Chandigarh by not making any mention of running the train from Chandigarh to holy township to facilitate thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi as well as Shri Amarnathji, patients from the State going for specialized treatment to PGI and students of J&K studying in UT.
The issue has again come to a Centre-stage after the presentation of Railway budget by Mr Prabhu last month who made the people of the State totally disappointed by making no mention of running the train service from UT of Chandigarh to holy town of Katra.
Feeling annoyed over delay in the decision regarding the running of Chandigarh-Katra train despite being a popular demand commuters say that there exists a nexus between transporters and Government otherwise there was no fun of not linking UT of Chandigarh with Jammu via train. They said the people have to suffer while visiting UT or returning from there as either they have to board a bus or take the train up to Ambala which is a cumbersome problem.
“The announcement of train from UT to Katra, the people of the State as well as the pilgrims visiting from Chandigarh and its surrounding areas to holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi will meet the long pending demand and they will heave a sigh of relief,”  says Pawan Kumar a B Tech student at Chandigarh.
He said while on the one hand the Prime Minister has announced about the bullet train in India and on the other hand such important train services are being missed.
However the NDA Government is under the constant pressure from the people of the State who are pressing hard for running the Chandigarh-Katra train.
“It is our long pending demand’’, said Rakesh Gupta president Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Gupta said that Chamber will soon meet Union Minister in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh in this regard and submit a representation to him in this regard. Moreover, the Chamber will also demand additional train service from Jammu to Haridwar.
Despite the Chamber, the Jammu Yatri Bhawan is also going to submit a memorandum to Dr Singh in this regard, said Pawan Shastri head of the Yatri Bhawan. He said besides, demanding running of additional train to Haridwar, the Yatri Bhawan will strongly press for running Katra –Chandigarh train which was announced last year, he added.


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