Sidhu assails Lalu for ignoring Punjab's concerns

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Chandigarh, Feb 27 (UNI) Member of Parliament and senior BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu today lambasted Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad for ignoring the vital concerns of Punjabis in the Union Railway Budget.

While terming the Railway Budget as primarily anti-Punjab due to glaring discrepancies and outright ignorance of the long-standing demands and requirements of the people of the state, Mr Sidhu lamented that Mr Prasad had most blatantly disregarded the concerns, which were of utmost importance for Punjab.

In a statement released here, the BJP leader decried, among other things, the non-extension of freight corridor up till Amritsar when already huge investments of over Rs 500 crore were being made to develop Attari-Wagah border as an import-export centre. ''Certain vital rail linkages for the state have not even found a mention in the Railway Budget,'' Mr Sidhu said while referring to the state's demands for Patiala-Samana, Manawalan-Ferozepur and Qadian- Amritsar rail links, which could have provided an unmatched linkage to Majha, Malwa and Doaba. He also questioned the absence of any mention of the Chandigarh- Ludhiana rail link extension.

Mr Sidhu termed the announcement of new trains and Garib-Raths as a mere eyewash and gimmick with cosmetic value. Punjab needs a better rail connectivity and a freight corridor up till Amritsar, he added.

UNI HS PY KN1723

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