Bhalku museum project: Still a foundation stone

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Shimla, Feb 23 (UNI) Four years after the Himachal Pradesh Government decided to set up a railway museum at Shimla Railway Station in commemoration of Baba Bhalku here, it has failed to move beyond the foundation stone.

The construction work on the museum has been stalled due to the state government's failure to transfer the identified piece of land to the railway authorities, even though the blueprints for the proposed structure have already been prepared, railway sources said told UNI here.

The central and the state government had identified about one thousand square feet of land after protracted negotiations to establish the proposed museum at the railway station extension near the local bus stand.

''Once the land is transferred to the railways, we could begin the venture. The design work for the museum has almost been finalized, it's only that we our waiting for the land to be transferred to begin with the work ahead,'' said a railway official, handling the project, requesting anonymity.

The design of museum has been prepared in conformity with the rich heritage and culture of Himachal, he added.

The announcement of the setting up of this museum was made in November 2003 by the then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar during the centenary celebrations of Kalka-Shimla railways but since then not much headway has been made in this regard.

According to the sources, it took almost four years for the central and the state governments to negotiate on the piece of land for the setting up of the museum.

Now it has been over a year since the process of transferring the land is waiting to be completed, thanks to the apparent red-tapism in the concerned state department.

Baba Bhalku visualised this rail track path over a century ago.

This line is supposed to have been built exactly on the track revealed by Bhalku, a common labourer, who would march with a long shaft over the hills and claim that the track had been revealed to him by his devta.

It is said even the engineers were in awe of Bhalku's supernatural powers and always consulted him before carrying on the construction of the railway line.

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