Deve Gowda flags off train, 20 yrs after he sanctioned it

Deve Gowda flags off train, 20 yrs after he sanctioned it

Deve Gowda flags off train, 20 yrs after he sanctioned it

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda flagged off the Yeshwantpur-Hassan Superfast Intercity Express and inaugurated a host of services at various stations on Sunday.

Speaking at the programme, Deve Gowda expressed satisfaction at the commissioning of the track between Bengaluru and Hassan via Kunigal which he sanctioned 20 years ago. “I am in great pain today at such a long delay of this project during which 14 railway ministers have come and gone. I met (Prime Minister) Narendra Modiji in 2014 and urged him to complete the project when I am alive,” he said.

Suresh Prabhu said he had been focusing on expediting the pending projects and giving “special attention” to doubling and tripling of tracks. “At present, 17% of India’s railway network handles 60% of the entire traffic. Without doubling the tracks, existing infrastructure will be saturated soon,” he said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said severe drought had forced the state to get fodder from neighbouring states which involves spending huge amounts on transportation. “I request the rail minister to waive the freight charges on transporting fodder,” he said.

He said Shravanabelagola, as a religious tourism hub, needs the attention of Railways. It should introduce special trains from all directions for the Mahamastakabhisheka event to be held in February next, the chief minister said.

Earlier, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said Bengaluru had seen exponential growth over the last two decades in various spheres and urged the rail minister to give priority to the city’s railway infrastructure.

Acknowledging the #ChukuBukuBeku campaign, Kumar said, “Please give special attention to Bengaluru when it comes to projects like suburban rail. I request you to treat the city on a par with Mumbai,” he said. The train arrived in Shravanabelagola station at 3.15 pm, amid cheers from thousands of people. It reached Hassan station at 5 pm, around three hours behind the scheduled time.

Chorus for suburban railway
The demand for suburban railway echoed throughout the programme on Sunday as volunteers shouted ‘Chuku Buku Beku’ amid the speech by Union ministers and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah said the state government had already allocated Rs 345 crore for this and urged the Railways to come forward to start the project. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu assured that a foundation stone for the project would be laid in a few months.