Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is understood to have, on Wednesday, directed the officials to explore the possibility of acquiring land for new railway projects under the KIADB Act by paying four times the market value.
The chief minister, who reviewed the progress of railway projects with senior officials of South Western Railways and the State government, directed the Industries and Commerce Department officials to explore the possibility of acquiring lands for new, cost-sharing projects of Gadag-Wadi and Kanakapura-Chamarajnagar under the KIADB Act.
The two projects, cleared by the Centre in 2013, have failed to take off due to inaction on the State government’s part to acquire land: It has neither finalised the rules for implementing the 2013 Land Acquisition Act (Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013) nor is it willing to adopt the new 2015 ordinance. The government has agreed to give land free of cost for these railways projects, besides sharing 50 per of their cost.
The Gadag-Wadi is a long-pending project, and it requires about 2,500 acres land. The project envisages providing direct railway connectivity between Hyderabad Karnataka and Mumbai Karnataka. Gadag-Wadi project is estimated to cost Rs 1,900 crore, while Kanakapura-Chamarajnagar project is estimated to cost Rs 1,300 crore.
Further, the Revenue Department officials informed the chief minister that the acquisition process under the 2013 Act involved social and environmental impact studies and implementing rehabilitation and resettlement package for the land losers. Officials of the Law Department also appraised the chief minister of the various facets of the legislation.
Later speaking to reporters, Minister for Infrastructure Development Roshan Baig said the issue of land acquisition was discussed at length in the meeting. Land acquisition is important for taking up many railway projects. The chief minister will soon take an appropriate decision in this regard, he said.
He said the non-cost-sharing project of Hubli-Ankola railway line had been delayed due to the land acquisition problem. The project has been waiting environment clearance from the Centre.
Marikuppam-Kuppam and Yelahanka-Channasandra projects, too, have been delayed due to land issues. Directions have been issued to the officials to expedite the acquisition process, he said.
Delay in the completion of cost-sharing railway projects has become a big burden on the State government.
This is because delay in project implementation results in cost escalation. So, the chief minister has urged the Railways to implement all 12 cost-sharing projects speedily, he said.