CM writes to Prabhu, wants Centre to share cost burden of suburban railway

CM writes to Prabhu, wants Centre to share cost burden of suburban railway

CM writes to Prabhu, wants Centre to share cost burden  of suburban railway
With citizens’ pressure mounting over the delay in the implementation of the Bengaluru suburban rail, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday asked Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to share the project’s financial burden with the state government.

“The final Suburban Rail Policy is skewed to the state’s disadvantage,” the chief minister wrote to Prabhu in a letter, copies of which were released to the press.

According to the policy, which was announced in April, the operational losses of the suburban rail project are to be borne by the state government (in case the special purpose vehicle cannot) and the final authority on fare fixation rests with the Indian Railways.

The policy, however, has not incorporated key suggestions made by Karnataka, Siddaramaiah stated.

The state government had sought equal participation of both the Centre and state in the areas of funding, land acquisition and operational losses/gains.

“The state also suggested that creation of exclusive infrastructure may not be insisted upon as this would not only prevent leveraging of existing infrastructure, but also make the suburban rail uneconomical,” the chief minister wrote.

In January 2016, the state government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Railways to work on a suburban rail network for Bengaluru pegged to cost Rs 10,929 crore.

This includes upgrading infrastructure and introduction of train services connecting the city with Tumakuru, Bangarpet, Mandya, Whitefield and Nelamangala.

Besides requesting Prabhu to ensure that operational losses are a “joint responsibility” of the Indian Railways and the state government, Siddaramaiah wants fare fixation to be at the discretion of the special purpose vehicle that will be set up to implement and run the project.
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