Mega push for suburban rail as Prabhu, CM sign pact

Mega push for suburban rail as Prabhu, CM sign pact

Mega push for suburban rail as Prabhu, CM sign pact

Amid chants of ‘Chuku Buku Beku’ by members of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) forum, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop a suburban railway network system in Bengaluru.

Acknowledging the long-standing demand for a local train system, the railway minister said it was impossible for a state government or the Centre to fund the entire project through normal revenue sources.

He said the completion of the track doubling work between Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (city railway) and Mysuru stations in the coming months would give way to new projects.

“We have sought German expertise to work on a high-speed train between Chennai and Mysuru. Work on 92 km of new lines and six new crossing sections in the state will be expedited,” he said.

The union minister electronically flagged off two trains — KSR-Shivamogga(No. 16581/16582) and the mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) train between KSR and Ramanagaram — and laid the foundation stone for the Baiyappanahalli terminus.

Two more new trains — KSR-Whitefield and KSR-Kuppam — were introduced and an escalator at Yeshwantpur station and two lifts at  platform numbers seven and eight at KSR station were also inaugurated.

Prabhu said the third terminus at Baiyappanahalli, which will include a world-class station, will decongest city stations. The minister said the average railway budget outlay for Karnataka had gone up to Rs 2,000 crore from Rs 900 crore in the UPA regime.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state government had reserved funds for the railway projects in the 2016-17 budget. “We have agreed to provide Rs 100 crore for six projects. We are ready to provide more money if needed,” he said. He claimed that no other state had come forward to work with the Railways and the Centre should make a reciprocatory gesture.

“I won’t make a comparison between what was given to us and to Mumbai and Kolkata. But I request the Centre to provide at least what we need,” he added.

Earlier, Union Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar quoted a speech he made during a discussion on the budget in 1996, to point out that the BJP had been pressing the Centre for suburban rail network in Bengaluru for the last 20 years. Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda also spoke on the occasion.
DH News Service