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PM flags off the Amritsar-Haridwar train
9/27/2006 5:59:42 PM



Amritsar, September 27,

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday flagged off a new train linking Amritsar and Hardwar even as local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Navjot Singh Sidhu attempted to "hijack" the launch function before he was stopped by police.

Police cane-charged BJP activists accompanying the cricketer-turned-politician at the Amritsar railway station, injuring some of them.

Manmohan Singh flagged off the Jan Shatabdi Express between this Sikh holy city and the Hindu holy city of Haridwar from Ludhiana by pressing a remote button. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad accompanied him.

However, before the prime minister formally flagged off the new train, Sidhu reached the railway station here with his supporters and performed a religious ritual with a coconut to mark the launch of the new service.

The Punjab police, however, derailed the BJP leader's plans and Punjab assembly Deputy Speaker Darbari Lal then performed the honours.

The prime minister, on a two-day visit of the state from Wednesday, later visited a 300-acre farm of the Fieldfresh group promoted by Bharti Telecom. The project aims at researching ways to increase productivity through modern farming methods.

Manmohan Singh also inaugurated the Ludhiana-Kolkata freight corridor, one of the biggest railway projects in the country.


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