Completion of rail projects hinges on funds release by State: Kharge

Karnataka has to provide Rs 700 crore for cost-sharing projects

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said speedy completion of railway projects in the State was fully dependant on the periodical release of funds with regard to cost-sharing projects by the state government.

He urged chief minister Siddaramaiah to ensure timely release of funds for these projects. Kharge was speaking after laying foundation stone for the construction of 1.5 km-long tunnel costing Rs 60 crore on the new Bidar-Gulbarga railway line at Maragutti village near here.

The minister said allocation of funds for the cost-sharing projects in the State has been doubled from Rs 350 crore, as provided in the Railway budget for the current fiscal, to Rs 700 crore. Accordingly, the State will have to release Rs 700 crore. So far, the State has given sanction for Rs 250 crore while it has actually released only Rs 150 crore.

CM’s assurance

“While reviewing the railway projects of the State a month ago, Siddaramaiah had promised to release necessary funds on time. The chief minister had also given instructions in this regard to finance secretary and chief secretary. I hope Siddaramaiah will keep his words and help expedite the long pending projects’’ Kharge said.

Pointing out that Karnataka was not the only state which was sharing the cost of railway projects apart from giving necessary land, he said several other states have also agreed for the same. 

“The Planing Commission and the Planning department are very strict in this matter. Even after states agreeing for giving land and sharing the equal cost, they are not easily permitting new projects,’’ Kharge said. State’s cooperation was very crucial in the speedy execution of rail projects, he added.

Allocation hiked

He said that for the new Bidar-Gulbarga railway line, only Rs 10 crore was provided in the Railway budget and, after he took over as the Railway Minister four months ago, the allocation has been increased to Rs 60 crore. The State has also given Rs 60 crore for the project. With the availability of Rs 120 crore, the project has been comfortably placed, he said and hoped that it will be completed in the next two to three years.

Former chief minister and Bidar MP N Dharam Singh, Municipal Administration Ministers Qamar-ul-Islam, Minister of State for Medical Education Dr Sharan Prakash Patil, South Central Railway general manager A K Mittal and Railway Board member (engineering) Subodh Jain were present.

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