Hike in train fares likely

Decision to be taken at a meeting soon, says Kharge

Train fares are likely to be increased soon and a decision on revising freight charges will be taken at a meeting next week.

Minister for Railways Mallikarjun Kharge announced this, while speaking to reporters after launching work on doubling the Hosadurga Road-Chikkajajur railway line near Hosadurga in the district on Sunday.

The skyrocketing prices of oil has necessitated the increase in the fare. However, the revised fare will not be a burden either on passengers or the department, he said.

Work on the 29.5-km stretch between Hosadurga Road-Chikkajajur, taken up at a cost of Rs 203 crore in a phased manner, will be completed in three years, he added.

The Arsikere-Chikkajajur railway line will serve as a major link between the mines in the State and the Mangalore port and will be a significant route for transportation of oil and other products via Hassan and North Karnataka to central India.

As many as 268 projects on new lines, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.78 lakh crore are pending, he said adding that the Union government has released only Rs 26,000 crore. The state governments will have to share 50 per cent of the cost in several of these projects. By the end of March 2014, projects worth Rs 1,400 crore will be completed, he added.

Land acquisition

Delay in release of funds and acquisition of land by the State government are major hurdles in implementing the projects in Karnataka, Kharge said.

Of the Rs 650 crore grants that the State was to spend on the projects taken up on cost-sharing basis, the Karnataka government has so far released only Rs 50 crore, the Union minister said.

Besides, delay in executing the projects has eventually led Karnataka to losing the grants to other states. Several minor projects such as Harihara-Kottur, Chikmagalur-Kadur lines and doubling of Ramanagar-Maddur and Maddur-Mysore stretches are pending due to farmers’ refusal to part with their land.  The government should negotiate with farmers to expedite the land acquisition process, he added.

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