Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Ferozepur in Punjab on Wednesday and lay the foundation stones of development projects worth over Rs 42,750 crore, including the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway and a PGI satellite centre, in the city.
Modi's visit assumes significance as the state is headed for assembly polls, and the BJP has joined hands with former chief minister Amarinder Singh and the Akali faction headed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to take on rival parties.
This will be Modi's first visit to Punjab after his government repealed the three farm reform laws, which had sparked more intense protest in the state than any other place. After the repeal, the BJP has been making concerted efforts to woo the Sikhs, who spearheaded the agitation.
Ahead of Modi's visit, the PMO said his consistent endeavour to improve connectivity across the country has led to multiple national highway development projects being taken up in Punjab. It has resulted in more than doubling the total length of national highways in the state from about 1,700 kilometre in 2014 to more than 4,100 kilometres in 2021. In continuation of such efforts the foundation stone of two major road corridors will be laid in Punjab, it said.
This will also be a step towards fulfilling the prime minister's vision to enhance accessibility to major religious centres. The 669-km-long Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway will be developed at a cost of about Rs 39,500 crore, and it will halve the travel time from Delhi to Amritsar and Delhi to Katra, the PMO said.
The greenfield expressway will connect key Sikh religious sites at Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Tarn Taran and the holy Hindu shrine of Vaishno Devi in Katra. The expressway will also connect key economic centres like Ambala Chandigarh, Mohali, Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Kathua and Samba in Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
The four-laning of Amritsar–Una section will be done at the cost of around 1,700 crore. The 77-km-long section is part of the larger Amritsar to Bhota corridor spanning across the longitudinal expanse of northern Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, connecting four major national highways, namely Amritsar-Bhatinda-Jamnagar economic corridor, Delhi–Amritsar–Katra expressway, North-South corridor and Kangra-Hamirpur-Bilaspur-Shimla corridor.
It will help in improving the connectivity of religious sites at Ghoman, Shri Hargobindpur and Pulpukta Town (home to the famous Gurudwara Pulpukta Sahib), the PMO said. He will also lay the foundation stone of a new broad gauge railway line between Mukerian and Talwara of around 27 km in length, to be built at a cost of over Rs 410 crore.
The railway line will be an extension of Nangal Dam-Daulatpur Chowk railway section and will provide an all-weather means of transportation in the area. This project also holds strategic importance as it will serve as an alternative route to Jammu and Kashmir, joining the existing Jalandhar-Jammu Railway line at Mukerian.
The project will prove especially beneficial for the people of Hoshiarpur in Punjab and Una in Himachal Pradesh. It will give a boost to tourism in the region and provide ease of connectivity to hill stations as well as to places of religious importance, the PMO said. It added that in line with the prime minister's endeavour to provide world class medical facilities across the country, new medical infrastructure projects in three towns of Punjab will be laid.
The 100 bedded PGI satellite centre at Ferozepur will be built at a cost of more than Rs 490 crore. Two medical colleges at Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur will be developed at a cost of around Rs 325 crore each and with a capacity of about 100 seats. These colleges have been approved in Phase-III of the centrally sponsored scheme "establishment of new medical colleges attached with district/referral hospitals", the PMO said. A total of three medical colleges have been approved for Punjab under this scheme, and the college approved at SAS Nagar in Phase-I is already functional, it said.
With inputs from PTI.