'State govt can't afford Rs 10K cr for rly projects'

The Karnataka government cannot afford the estimated Rs 10,000 crore monetary assistance for railway projects in the State, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar told the Legislative Council on Tuesday, in reply to issues raised by some members.

Shivakumar said the whopping monetary assistance sought for railway projects in Karnataka was unaffordable for any state government.

“We cannot part with land, and also pay Rs 10,000 crore for railway projects in the State. Not just Karnataka, no state can afford to pay such a huge amount for a Central scheme,” he asserted.

Shivakumar said previous State governments had committed a “blunder” by agreeing to share the monetary burden with the railways. “It does not matter who agreed to the cost-sharing model, whether it was the SM Krishna regime or the B S Yeddyurappa government. The fact is that it has become a burden on the people. We not only give the railways land but also share the costs,” he stressed.

Shivakumar criticised his own party’s MP and former minister for state for railways, K H Muniyappa, for establishing the railway coach factory in Kolar at a “huge” cost. The State hardly gets any benefits from these railway projects as they neither earn revenue for themselves nor create jobs for people from Karnataka.

“I appeal to both the ruling and opposition parties to sit together with the Minister of Railways, D V Sadananda Gowda, and urge the Centre to agree to share at least 80 per cent of the costs of each railway project in the State,” Shivakumar said.

Earlier, the BJP proposed a motion of congratulation for Gowda on becoming the minister of railways. The Congress, on its part, congratulated one of its own, Mallikarjun Kharge, on becoming the party’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha.

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