Monday, February 24, 2014

Rlys, Japan Firm to Tie Up for High Speed Trains

Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters on Sunday that the Railway Ministry has held talks with Japan’s Jaico company for running high speed trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the latter has agreed to the joint project.

He said a joint survey had been completed and the railway department was planning to expand it to New Delhi.
Kharge said in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the department had sustained losses but at a later point, revenue returns by means of profit through deposit had gone up to `700-800 crore.
“Within a short span of six months, I have made the railways profitable with the existing freights and fares. During 2013-14, the budget may go up to `13,000 crore. I am hopeful of finishing all ongoing projects at a brisk pace with the release of funds,” he added. Saying that it was a matter of pride that most railway works were being completed on a cost-sharing basis, Kharge said the railway department was giving priority to states that provide facilities to the common man. Construction of bridges in place of manned gates will be taken up on a need basis after taking funds and resources into account.
“The initial amount to be sanctioned was `700 crore. But it doubled to `1,230 crore and was given to all states. Without cost-sharing, works on station upgradation and construction of platforms were permitted. Karnataka has a deficit of `120 crore. Some new lines are hampered due to stay in courts and land acquisition. We will release funds to the state by March-end,” he said. Kharge said that 17 New Jai Hind Express trains will be introduced and 15-16 trains will be provided to the state.  The Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur line will be completed within three years on cost-sharing of `392 crore from the railways and `352 crore of the state government, he added.                                                                              
MLA Raises Doubts About Rail Project
At the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur rail line by Kharge on Sunday, MLA C T Ravi raised doubts about the project.
Express had carried a write-up on Sunday titled ‘Is Bhoomi Pooja for Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur Project a Political Gimmick?’
Ravi complimented the Minister for keeping his promises within three months of the inauguration of the Chikmagalur-Kadur railway line on November 19, but sarcastically added that the foundation stone should not be cursed like the previous one.
Ravi said the land acquisition had not been made nor allocation of funds in the railway budget. There was also no mention of the contractor or the tender process.
“The DC has deposited `15 crore for land acquisition and the railways has released a frozen amount of `10 crore. The tender process is in motion. Works have started with the foundation stone-laying ceremony,” said Kharge.
New Workshop in Bangalore
The second phase of Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur railway works had been frozen during September 2007 and the project is being taken up now on account of the state government’s decision to provide free land in addition to 50 per cent cost sharing, said Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge.
 Kharge said he had sanctioned `200 crore from the budget to the state in addition to granting an additional `300 crore. He said a new workshop near Binny Mills in Bangalore will be opened at a cost of `80 crore to lessen congestion in the main station.


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