On January 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due to lay the foundation stones for projects worth 42,750 crores in Punjab, but following a breach of security, the prime minister had to cancel his engagements and return to Delhi. Now, with the model code of conduct in place until a new government takes over and with a raging feud between the Center and the state government over the security breach, the fate of these projects, many of which were announced earlier and stalled, are up in the air again awaiting inauguration.
While the Prime Minister was due to physically lay the foundation stone for the Rs 490 crore PGI satellite center in Ferozepur, the remaining projects were to be inaugurated virtually from Ferozepur.
The Indian Express reviewed these projects and found that they were all either at the tender award or land acquisition stage, although the civil works had not been completed. started yet. While the PGI satellite center and two upcoming medical colleges – at Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala – are to be funded by the Center and the state government in a ratio of 60:40, the remaining projects are funded by the central government.
The largest of these projects is the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra (DAK) highway, 669 km long and worth Rs 39,500 crore. The longest section of this highway — nearly 400 km — will cross Punjab. The highway, when ready, is expected to reduce travel time between Amritsar and Delhi to six and a half hours from the current eight hours taken by the Vande Bharat train.
The highway proposes to pass through the religious sites of Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Taran Taran, Dera Baba Nanak, Kartarpur Sahib and the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and is expected to boost economic activity in districts such as Ambala, Mohali , Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Kathua.
RP Singh, Director of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the Northern Region, said: “For the DAK Expressway, works have been awarded for all 10 locations, but the civil works have not yet been awarded. begin. Sources said the 10 slots are approximately 580km.
Another project the prime minister was due to inaugurate is the widening of the 77 km long Amritsar-Una highway to four lanes at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore. NHAI had launched a call for tenders for this project in February 2019. Again, work had not yet started.
RP Singh said, “The works have been awarded for two lots of the Amritsar-Ghoman-Tanda highway. The civil works have not yet started.
Construction of a 27 km railway line from Mukerian to Talwara in Hoshiarpur district is another of the projects awaiting official inauguration. Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Apneet Riyat said, “Land acquisition for this project is ongoing and works are ongoing.
The project has an emotional appeal to local residents. From 1961 to 1974, when the Pong Dam was being constructed at Nangal, there was a rail link at the same place intended to transport goods for the construction of the dam. But once the dam was completed, it fell into disuse. The Talwara section to Gamrur was partially operational until 1994, after which the railway line was razed and the material auctioned off. The inhabitants of the region are asking for the restoration of this railway line.
Railway sources said that Rs 411 crore was sanctioned for the project in August 2021 and they aim to complete it in 30 months.
The PGI satellite center in Ferozepur, a 100-bed hospital whose prime minister was to attend the cornerstone laying ceremony, was announced by the UPA government in 2013, a year before the Lok Sabha elections brought the ruling BJP in the Centre. It took nearly eight years for land acquisition and other formalities to be completed for the 45-acre project which has a sanctioned cost of Rs 490 crore. Last year, a boundary wall was erected.
The Prime Minister was also to lay the foundation stones for two medical colleges, one at Hoshiarpur and the other at Kapurthala, both with 100 places and worth Rs 325 crore each.
Kapurthala College was announced by the Center in November 2019 while Hoshiarpur College of Medicine in January 2020. In April last year, it was stated that Capt Amarinder Singh, then Punjab CM, would lay the first stone from Hoshiarpur medical college in July 2021 but this did not happen. The two medical school projects are at the land acquisition stage.
OP Soni, deputy CM Punjab who also holds the health portfolio, said the projects for which the prime minister was to lay the foundation stones had all been announced earlier. “Yes, these had already been announced by the central government and are not new. However, so far, nothing has been transmitted to us on these projects. Also, the model code of conduct is now in place in Punjab and whatever needs to happen will happen after the elections. From what I’ve seen on TV, the PM programs have been postponed, not cancelled. This was revealed by the Union Health Minister on the same day via TV channels. Let’s see when the prime minister comes next.
Anil Sarin, chief spokesperson for the BJP’s Punjab unit, said: “It is true that the projects have been announced to one or the other. But if the foundation laying ceremony had taken place, the civil works would have started regardless of the code of conduct. This would have created jobs in Punjab and economic activity would have increased. But due to the Congress’s petty policy, the people of Punjab have been deprived of the benefits of these projects. The projects have been delayed but they will be completed for sure as the Prime Minister has committed himself to the development of Punjab.
PGI Satellite Centre, Ferozepur. Cost: Rs 490 cr
Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Highway (DAK). Cost: Rs 39,500 cr
Four-laning of the 77 km long Amritsar-Una highway. Cost: Rs 1,700 cr
Railway line from Mukerian to Talwara. Cost: more than Rs 410 cr
Medical Colleges in Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala. Cost: Rs 325 cr each