Budget: No allocation for suburban rail

Funds cut for other works

The suburban rail project has received only Rs 10 crore, which was allocated in the interim budget in February. (DH File Photo)

The Union budget disappointed Bengaluru for the second time in a row as the suburban rail project did not get any allocation in the latest allocation for the South Western Railway.

Details of the allocation in the ‘pink book’, released on Wednesday, showed that the suburban rail project has got only Rs 10 crore, the fund which was allocated in the interim budget in February. Though a special purpose vehicle (SPV) expected to be set up within the next few days, the poor allocation has made it clear that the project is unlikely to go forward this year.

Last month, while inaugurating the third entry for the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna station, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi and Bangalore Central MP P C Mohan had promised to meet the ministers concerned to give the much-needed push to the project. However, the Budget document has dashed all hopes.

Urban transport activist Sanjeev Dyamannavar said the railways should have allocated at least Rs 100 crore to restore the momentum achieved last year. “Bengaluru’s mobility issues are worsening every day and the Centre should not have looked away at this juncture,” he said.

The proposed automatic signalling on Bengaluru-Mandya, Bengaluru-Tumakuru, Yashwantpur-Yelahanka and Yashwantpur-Hosur have not been sanctioned.

Dyamannavar said the railways has failed to recognise the low hanging fruits. Automatic signalling needed Rs 100 crore and so was the elimination of level crossing, as both of them will help in improving the safety and efficiency of the railways, he added.

Key projects like the Naganahalli satellite terminal, expected to decongest the Mysuru station, has also been ignored, while the allocation for third coaching terminal at Baiyappanahalli has come down from Rs 45 crore to Rs 20 crore.

While the pink book showed that the allocation for new railway lines has gone down from Rs 420 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 259 crore this year, railway officials said the extra-budgetary support has given the necessary push.

However, SWR Chief Public Relations Officer E Vijaya said that total budget grants to the SWR for new lines and doubling, including extra-budgetary support, was Rs 480 crore and Rs 823 crore, respectively.

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