Monday, January 2, 2012

Rail projects to be speeded up

S. Rajendran

Several of the railway projects in Karnataka, including the doubling of the Bangalore-Mysore line, which have been languishing for over a decade owing to land acquisition related issues, are expected to be speeded up with the State Government assuring the Railways that the required land will be handed over in about a month.

Sources in the State Secretariat told The Hindu that with the Government here keen on fulfilling its commitment, the Railways had been asked to prepare a timeline for the completion of the projects.
Karnataka has been sharing the cost with the Ministry of Railways with respect to 12 projects, several of which are for laying new lines and the others related doubling the existing tracks.
So far, the State Government has spent over Rs. 1,000 crore, with little benefit to the people though, owing to the delay in the completion of the projects.
The project cost is being shared on 50:50 basis between the State and the Railway Ministry.
The State Government has decided to speed up the completion of the projects and is of the view that providing the required land is the only way to speed up their execution.
The Railways had sought 2,493 acres, and of this the State Government has so far handed over 2,293 acres, and the remaining land would be made over in a month. Strict instructions had been issued to deputy commissioners of the districts concerned to complete the formalities quickly.
The 12 major projects which have been delayed are the Hassan–Bangalore (new line); Kadur–Chikmagalur (new line); Bidar–Gulbarga (new line); Munirabad–Mahbubnagar (new line); Kolar–Chickballapur (gauge conversion); Ramanagaram–Mysore (doubling); Tumkur–Rayadurga (new line); Kottur–Harihar (new line); Whitefield–Kolar (new line); Davangere–Tumkur (new line); Bagalkot–Kudachi (new line), and the Shimoga–Harihar (new line) .
Towards these projects, the Railways had sought land for the Ramanagaram–Mysore and Bangalore–Hassan lines (5.51 hectares in Bangalore, 68.50 hectares in Ramanagaram district, 83.94 hectares in Mandya district, 3.59 hectares in Mysore district, and 10.65 hectares in Hassan district ); Kolar–Chickballapur (8.7 hectares in Kolar and 2.98 hectares in Chickballapur); Raichur–Gadwal (0.4 hectares in Raichur), and Gulbarga and Bidar (forest lands).
For the completion of the Bangalore–Mysore doubling work, the Government had provided most of the land and has to now provide only 29 acres in Mandya district and 6 acres in Ramanagaram district.
The State Government has constituted a high-level committee, under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, to monitor the completion of the rail projects.
Secretary, Infrastructure Development, Rajkumar Khatri is in overall charge of coordinating with the various departments of the Government and the Railways.


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