Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davangere rail delayed

Even as Tumakuru is making strides by being the industrial node of Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor and being selected as a sister city of Denmark’s Aalborg on Thursday, the Union Railway ministry on Thursday clarified that it cannot execute any work until the state completes land acquisition for the project. DH Photo

The delay in land acquisition by the state government seems to have cast a shadow on the ambitious Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davangere railway line project that was announced almost a decade ago.

Even as Tumakuru is making strides by being the industrial node of Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor and being selected as a sister city of Denmark’s Aalborg on Thursday, the Union Railway ministry on Thursday clarified that it cannot execute any work until the state completes land acquisition for the project.

Drawing the attention of the Union Railway Ministry, a parliamentarian from Chitradurga A Narayanaswamy sought the status of the project. In his reply, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that unless the state hands over the land required for the project, the ministry cannot carry out work.

“Total revenue land required for the project is 2,246.06 acres. Of this, the Karnataka government has handed over only 135.66 acres till date. The state has to expedite land acquisition of the remaining 2,110.40-acres of revenue land besides diverting 34.66 acres forest land,” Goyal said in his statement.

Acknowledging the delay in land acquisition, G S Basavaraju, a parliamentarian from Tumakuru told DH that the delay has already been brought to the notice of Chief Minister Yediyurappa.

“Of the required land for the project, only 6 to 8% has been acquired so far. Ever since it was brought to the notice of the CM, he has directed the chief secretary to regularly hold meetings and resolve issues to expedite the process. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved in a few months.”

Sources in Tumakuru also revealed that the difference in compensation for land adjoining Vasanthanarasapura Industrial Area and the land acquired for the railway project has prompted many farmers to approach the court resulting in the delay.

“Farmers who lost land for the industrial area were paid up to Rs 40 lakh per acre. But for the railway line, farmers got only up to Rs 20 lakh. Several farmers have approached the court and cases are pending at various stages. Soon, an amicable solution will be arrived at and all farmers will be convinced to part with the land,” Basavaraju said.

The railway line, spanning 191 km, was announced in 2010-11 on a cost-sharing basis with the state government. The state government had agreed to provide land free of cost and offered to bear 50% of the cost.

“The state government handed over 135.66 acres of land for Urakere-Thimmarayanahalli section (12 km) to railways in 2018,” Goyal revealed in his statement in Lok Sabha.

The proposed rail project was expected to provide seamless connectivity between central Karnataka districts and Bengaluru, with the present line running through other districts and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The new line will boost industrial growth along the corridor.

With Tumakuru incorporated as a special node in the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, the rail line was thought as a game-changer with plans of using it as a freight corridor.

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