Congress caused Delay in Bidar-Kalaburagi Railway Line project: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal said that Indian Railways is missioned to invest $150 Bn, create 1 mn jobs in 5 years under NDA Government.

MANGALORE: Unon Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday accused the former United Progressive Alliance (UPA) – led government for causing delay in the Bidar-Kalaburagi railway line project, saying that the link, which was approved during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, could not see light of day as Congress failed to provide adequate land.

“Congress government that came in 2004, did not provide adequate land which caused the delay,” Goyal said at a press conference in Mangalore.

He further added that the project gained momentum only in 2007, when the then chief minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, offered to pitch in 50 percent of the cost from the state government’s funds.

Goyal, stating that the last piece of land was received in February 2017, commended the Railway Ministry for having “completed the work in record time after that”.

Speaking on the railway project, Goyal informed that a major specialty of the 110.40-km line was its 12 new railway stations, 1.7 km long tunnel, and 269 bridges.

Goyal assured that the railway line will not only contribute to the socio-economic development of Karnataka, but also facilitate the functioning of the railways.

Elaborating on it, Goyal said the connectivity of Bidar with such major cities as Bengaluru and Mumbai will improve as the distance between Bidar and Mumbai will shorten by 115 km, while distance between Bidar and Bengaluru will be cut short by 52 km.

In effect, the farmers will then be benefited in selling their produce, Goyal inferred, adding that it will also improve efficiency and scope of cement industry in North Karnataka.

“Under the government of Modi ji, development in rail facilities for the whole of Karnataka have quickened in pace. The investment by rail ministry in the state has increased by five times,” the Railway Minister claimed, adding that the budget provision for rail projects in Karnataka has increased from Rs 783 crore in the year 2014-15 to Rs 3174 crore in the current year 2017-18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the railway line today in Bidar.

Railways to invest $150 bn, create 1 mn jobs in 5 years

The Railways is looking to invest over $150 billion over the next five years which would help create one million additional jobs, minister Piyush Goyal has said. Goyal, who took over as the rail minister after a Cabinet reshuffle in August, said he was trying to give the national transporter a “new direction”.” During the next five years, the Railways alone will be looking at an investment of upwards of $150 billion. And when I translate that into jobs, I see a million jobs being created only through investments in the railway sector,” he said.

The Railways can play an important role in “aggressively pursuing” government agenda to provide safe, secure, comfortable travel, he said addressing an awards function organised by the business daily Economic Times here late last night. A focus on infrastructure could also help increase local manufacturing, he said. Goyal said his ministry was also compressing the time taken for complete electrification of rail lines to four years from the earlier plan of 10 years, which would help cut costs by around 30 per cent for the loss-making Railways.

This electrification initiative would help save the national transporter around Rs 10,000 crore per annum on fuel bill, he said.Earlier this month, Goyal had said the Railways would create one million jobs within the next 12 months. In 2015, his predecessor Suresh Prabhu had said the Railways needed investments of Rs 8.5 trillion over the next five years, and invited overseas investors for the same.

Prabhu had also secured a debt funding worth Rs 1.5 trillion from Life Insurance Corporation to fund various projects. It is not clear whether Goyal’s $150 billion is part of Prabhu’s Rs 8.5 trillion investments.