Chikmagalur all set to witness chugging of train on Nov 19

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Chikmagalur, K M Santhosh Kumar, Nov 17, 2013, DHNS: Finally, the time has come for Chikmagaloreans to realise their long pending dream of the city having railway connectivity. With the completion of work on laying railway track between Chikmagalur and Kadur, the first train will chug on the track on November 19.

With it, Chikmagalur district, one of the hot spot of tourism will find its official place in the railway map as the district with rail connectivity. However, the demand of Chikmagaloreans did not materialise with ease. It took exactly 14 years for the work to complete. The wok that was started in 1999, has been completed in 2013. The Central government has decided to inaugurate the first train on 45 km long Chikmagalur-Kadur-Shimoga track on Tuesday, on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The first passenger train (train No. 58272/ 58271) will start chugging after Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge flags off. He will also inaugurate the full-fledged railway station that has been built at Hiremagalur on the outskirts of the city.

Chief Minister Siddharamaih, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily, Union Road and Land Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes, Council Chairperson D H Shankaramurthy, Minority Affairs Minister K Rehaman Khan and others will participate in the programme that marks a new chapter in the history of Chikmagalur.

Chikmagalur-Kadur route which belongs to South West railway division will join Hubli-Bangalore main railway route. Four major bridges, 75 minor bridges, 12 over bridges, 20 underpass have been constructed in the track stretching for 45 km. The train will chug twice in a day, in the morning and in the evening.

Century old demand

The demand for railway connectivity to Chikmagalur is not new. There was demand for railway connectivity even during the time of administration of Mysore Wodeyars.

As Kadur was the district centre during British rule, Chilkmagalur was left out of railway facility. The Chikmagalur district board had collected a Cess of Rs 5.50 lakh way back in 1926 to bring railway facility. The British government which conducted a survey on the route map, dropped the idea considering it as not economical.

When Indira Gandhi contested for parliament elections from Chikmagalur in 1978, she had for the first time assured of introducing a train on Kadur-Chikmagalur-Sakaleshpur route. When H D Deve Gowda was the prime minister, he had laid the foundation stone for the railway work in 1996 and the work commenced in 1999.

The work has been completed and track is all set for train movement now, thanks to the continuous attempts of elected representatives from the district and the State to complete the work, believe Chikmagaloreans.

The new Kadur-Chikmagalur-Sakaleshpur (92.2 km) route was sanctioned in 1996-97 at an estimated amount of Rs 157 crore. As a first phase of the work, Kadur-Chikmagalur route was selected. The work witnessed a snail’s speed, due to financial constraints and delay in land acquisition process. Speed of the work was resumed in 2010  after the State and the Central government decided to provide fund on 50:50 ratio.

Connectivity to M’lore

The Centre has borne Rs 216 crore, while the State has funded Rs 103 crore. The work has been completed at a total budget of Rs 319 crore, while Rs 652 crore is expected for completing Chikmagalur-Sakaleshpur route.

Once the phase II work is completed, it would provide direct connectivity to Mangalore, South West Railways Public Relation Officer Sainath told Deccan Herald.

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