BENGALURU: With less than a week to go for the first Railway budget in 92 years to be merged with the General Budget, the Bangalore Railway Division has sent across its wishlist to the Centre for inclusion in the Pink Book (the official register of the Indian Railways).
Chief among the demands are a train connecting Hubballi with Mysuru via Bengaluru, three doubling projects and increased allocation for passenger amenities.
Speaking to RailNews on the doubling projects, Ashok Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, South Western Railway, said, “The doubling of the existing line between Yeshwantpur and Baiyappanahalli via Hebbal will help us run more trains along this busy stretch. The 22-km line will require funding of Rs 170 crore.”
Another doubling line between Baiyappanahalli and Hosur that will cost Rs 375 crore has also been requested.
“This will be a 48-km line and will immensely help passengers commuting between the two cities regularly,” Gupta added. A 41-km second line between Penukonda and Dharmavaram via Nagasundaram that will cost Rs 294 crore has also been sought, he said.
Sanjiv Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Railway Division, said, “To decongest the packed Chamundi Express that leaves from Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) station in the evenings, we have requested a day train that would connect Hubballi to Mysuru via Bengaluru. It is expected to be sanctioned.”
When asked if any more new trains were sought, the DRM said, “It is not possible to run more trains as we have already reached a saturation point. Hence, we have not requested for more.”
The Division has also sought funding to upgrade Platform 5 and 6 of the Banaswadi station and carry on yard-related work. “The platforms are very small and this is posing a problem to trains coming from Kolar. We need Rs 11 crore for it but even if Rs 3 toRs 4 crore is released, we can begin work on it,” he said.
Agarwal also said that Bengaluru was hoping to get more funding to improve passenger amenities across its Division. “We received very less for it in the previous budget and could not carry out many improvements,” he added.
The South Western Railway Zone (Bengaluru, Hubballi and Mysuru Railway Divisions) as a whole received only Rs 33 crore for passenger amenities in the 2016-17 Railway Budget whereas, it had received nearly Rs 90 crore in the 2015-16 budget, pointed out a top railway official. “We are hoping for Rs 100 crore for the SWR Zone for passenger amenities alone so that Bengaluru gets at least Rs 30 to Rs 40 crore allocated out of it,” he said.
Asked about what tops the amenity, the official said KSR, Cantonment, Yeshwantpur and Krishnajapuram stations require digital passenger information boards.
To ensure public safety, the Bangalore Railway Division has closed 23 level crossings and has manned five unmanned level crossings during this financial year, said Sanjiv Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Railway Division during Republic Day celebrations.
Monika Agarwal, the president of South Western Railway Women’s’ Welfare Organisation, Bangalore Division, distributed gifts to patients at Railway Hospital.
At the Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka, General Manager O P Agrawal said they had not only met production targets but also developed new products like wheels for milk tank wagons, Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains and the Kolkata Metro during this financial year.
An official release said Sarita Agrawal, president of RWF Women’s Welfare Organisation, also visited the Railway Hospital and wished patients a speedy recovery.