M'lore may merge with KRCL

M'lore may merge with KRCL

Incorporating 2 divisions to a particular zone in a row, is unprecedented, say sources .

After the inception of D V Sadananda Gowda as the Union Railway Minister, the process of realising a separate railway division for Mangalore is heading towards merging the port city with Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL), if sources are to be believed.

 The financial concern and the idea of ‘returning of the original asset to KRCL’ is the driving force behind the move. As of now, things are confined to the top level, and officials have no idea about what is going on, except a feeling that Mangalore division is going to happen. Nonetheless, reliable sources confide that option of Mangalore becoming a part of KRCL has got an edge over it coming under the Hubli head quartered South Western Railways (SWR).

The formation of Gulbarga division, announced by previous Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge in the vote-on-account budget presented this year has cost the SWR’s claim over Mangalore. 

Incorporating two divisions to a particular zone in a row, is unprecedented, points Railway sources. Moreover, creation of a new division will cause an investment of somewhere near Rs 500 crore which Railway can hardly afford in the current situation. This adds to the advantage of KRCL, a public limited company registered under the companies’ act, which came into existence in 1990.

KRCL is an autonomous company, Indian Railways has no claim or liabilities over it until the corporation is transferred to it according to the BOT (build-operate-transfer) system. So, merging of Mangalore to KRCL is not a liability at all to Indian Railways.
 KRCL’s claim over M’lore

It is learnt that when KRCL was formed way back in 1990, its border was envisaged from Roha in Maharastra upto Nethravati Cabin in Karnataka (Mangalore). The same was first proposed by the first Chairman and MD of KRCL, E Shreedaran. It was mooted eyeing the freight through Panambur, to make-up the huge investment incurred in the construction of an engineering marvel, called KRCL. 

But it was alleged that Southern Railway lobbied hard to get the Panambur region and won in restricting the KRCL’s border at Thokur. The current railway bypass line from Nethravati cabin to Mangalore Junction was built by KRCL ‘in its own land’ but was forced to let to SR for the alleged snatching of Panambur region. 

NO division but region

The KRCL, headquartered in Navi Mumbai has no division system as such, but consists of two regions—Ratnagiri and Karwar. If Mangalore, the terminal station is attached to it as new region, then there is a possibility of Karwar losing its regional status. The 760 km route is a non-electrified single broad guage. 

The states of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharastra and Goa are the major partners in the corporation besides Union ministry of railways. The Railway ministry has the major share of  51 per cent, followed by Maharastra-22 per cent, Karnataka-15 per cent and Kerala and Goa, six per cent each. 

According to the 2012-13 annual report of KRCL, the corporation has debt liabilities of Rs 1,667 crore as on 2013 March 31. Besides, the redemption and interest liabilities sums up to more than Rs 500 crores.