Karnataka govt to release Rs 150 crore for rail projects

Karnataka govt to release Rs 150 crore for rail projects

The Karnataka government will release Rs 150 crore this month for railway projects in the state being taken up with the Ministry of Railways on a cost-sharing basis, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said today.

A sum of Rs 100 crore has already been released in this regard, and Rs 150 crore would be pumped in this month, the Chief Minister said after a meeting with senior Railway officials.

"The remaining amount, including additionalities, would be released this year," Siddarmaiah said.

In addition to the Rs 350 crore Budget provision made by the Karnataka government for the projects, the state would have to provide another Rs 200 crore as its share as Union Railway Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge, who hails from the State, had announced additional funding for such projects in Karnataka, the Chief Minister said.

Minister of State for Infrastructure Development Santosh Lad said Karnataka would give within a week a list of projects to the Railways that needed to be taken up on a priority basis.

State officials said the government has taken proactive steps to speed up land acquisiton, including invoking emergency clause, and 2500 acres was acquired and handed over to the Railways in the last three years.

The state government urged the Railways to focus on completing and operationalising ongoing projects that are nearing completion such as Kolar-Chikkaballapura gauge conversion, Kadur-Chikmagalur and Kottur-Harihara lines.

State officials expressed concern that the burden of cost-sharing is high and uncertain. While initial approval for projects is based on line estimates, their cost gets escalated, they said.

They also pointed out that the fund requirement for already committed projects is around Rs 10,000 crore in addition to land acquisition cost.

"Hence, Railways should encourage public-private-partnership when PPP policy has been announced," officials said.

According to officials, there are 27 Railway projects in Karnataka having a total length of 2876 km and anticipated cost of Rs 22,400 crore. There are 16 projects which are being cost shared by Government of Karnataka. 

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