Projects held up as state, railways fail to coordinate

Officials take up matter with MPs; activists fear cost escalation

Bangalore Central MP, P C Mohan, greets R S Sexena, divisional railway manager, SWR, Bengaluru, on Tuesday. Also seen are Hindupur MP Kristappa Nimmala, South Western Railway General Manager A K Gupta and Kolar MP, K H Muniyappa. DH PHOTO/SRIKANTA SHARMA R

The lack of coordination between Karnataka and the railways has delayed several rail works in the state, from big-ticket projects like the Kolar Coach Factory to new railway lines and even road overbridges. 

The issue came to the fore in the replies given by the railways to MPs from constituencies that fall in the Bengaluru division of the South Western Railway (SWR) on Tuesday. As delays continue to escalate the costs, activists fear that will finally lead to the shelving of the project. 

For example, the 53-km Whitefield-Kolar line should have been completed by
now.

Though the railways gave details of the land required for the project, the government hasn’t yet started the acquisition process, officials told
MPs. 

During the meeting, Chikkaballapur MP M Veerappa Moily enquired about the status of the NES underpass near the Yelahanka station. The railways told him that the BBMP had deposited just Rs 12.58 lakh as against the requirement of Rs 8.03 crore. 

Tumkur MP, S P Muddahanumegowda, demanded the expedition of work on the Tumakuru-Rayadurga new line and other doubling works.

He was told that land acquisition was pending in Tumakuru district for the Rayadurga line while the doubling of the Arsikere-Karadi (36 km) line was in the planning stage. 

The Kolar line, along with the proposed new line between Bangarpet and Mulbagal which has been put on the backburner, is important if the state government wants to realise the dream of decongesting Bengaluru by developing satellite towns. 

There were, however, some positive takeaways from the meeting as the railways promised to start the first phase of the Baiyappanahalli coaching terminal by March
2019. The railways also responded positively to the proposed construction of a halt station at Doddanekkundi, which will play a major role as part of the suburban rail network. 

The much-awaited doubling of Baiyappanahalli–Hosur (48 km) and Yeshwantpur-Channasandra (22 km) lines will start shortly as the SWR is set to invite tender by the end of this month. 

Suburban rail DPR by November
The detailed project report on the 161-km suburban railway network for Bengaluru would be completed by November. The railways will get a preliminary report by the end of September, SWR General Manager A K Gupta said. 

The state government told the railways that the Karnataka Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (K-RIDE) is being reorganised to make it part of the
special purpose vehicle in which the state and Centre will have an equal share. 

Govt delaying suburban rail: BJP MP
The meeting saw Bangalore Central parliamentarian P C Mohan lashing out at the state government for “delaying” the suburban rail project although the railways went the extra mile by agreeing to bear half of the cost. 

“Urban transport is a state subject and the railways has taken initiatives to introduce 26 local trains and agreed to increase its share in the project from 20% to 50%. But the state government is not showing any interest,” he said. 

Railway officials said the MPs promised to meet Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to urge him to form a special purpose vehicle at the earliest. “The railways has already sanctioned the project. The state government is focused more on its survival than taking up works that benefit the people,” Mohan said.

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Projects held up as state, railways fail to coordinate

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