Bangalore-Hassan line to open by 2016
Minister for Railways D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Sunday said that land acquisition for completion of ongoing projects in the State has slowed down in recent years, delaying progress in work.
He urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to expedite the land acquisition process.
Addressing a press conference in the city, Mr. Gowda said that he had acquired over 1,000 acres of land for the Railways for completion of projects during his tenure as Chief Minister.
“Though I don’t want to blame anyone, the fact remains that the land acquisition process had slowed down. I have discussed the issue with the Chief Minister,” he said.
Mr. Gowda said that the budget had allocated Rs. 1,543 crore to Karnataka and emphasis will be on meeting the target of the ongoing track and gauge conversion works.
Identifying a few priority projects, Mr. Gowda said that the Hubli-Ankola railway line was critical for the State, but the Railways could not take up the project unless it was cleared by the court and the environmental approval was secured. However, the track-doubling work between Mysore and Bangalore would be completed and become operational by March 31, 2015. The Bangalore-Hassan rail line would become operational by 2016, he said.
To a question, Mr. Gowda said the Rs. 5 crore that was allotted for the newly-created Gulbarga division in the previous budget had been released. However, projects such as the coach factory in Kolar and Yadgir were already sanctioned and hence not mentioned in the budget. The allocation for the projects was already mentioned in the ‘Pink Book’, an annual compilation of various railway projects. Referring to the coach factory to be set up at Kolar, Mr. Gowda said that the project was facing land acquisition issues and hinted that it might be taken up under public-private partnership mode. A meeting of senior officials would be convened to thrash out a solution, he said.
The survey for a new rail line between Mysore and Kushalnagar had been completed and would be extended to Madikeri. The proposal would be tabled before the Planning Commission for approval and then sent for Cabinet clearance, he said.
Mr. Gowda reiterated that he did not announce major new projects in the budget in his bid to finish the existing work. About 35 projects have been identified as top priority. National projects like railway facilities to north-eastern States, and Jammu and Kashmir have been taken up while State capitals with no railway link will be brought under the rail network, he said.