Land acquisition has been entrusted to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board
Hubli: The work on laying a new rail line between Wadi and Gadag providing a direct link between the Hyderabad Karnataka region and the Mumbai Karnataka region has been delayed as the State government is yet to hand over the required land to the Railways.
The project was given a green signal in the last Railway Budget presented by the United Progressive Alliance government and the State government agreed to provide the land required for the project and share the cost of the project on a 50:50 basis.
However, the State government, for reasons best known to it has passed two orders on land acquisition.
The land acquisition from Gadag to Yelaburga in Koppal district has been entrusted to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) and the land from Wadi in Kalaburagi district to Yelaburaga would be acquired under the land acquisition Act.
Sources in Railways said that South Western Railway was ready to take up the construction of the new rail line in the first 100 km in the first phase if the required land was acquired immediately.
According to them, the KIADB had started acquiring land from Gadag to Yelaburga in the first 25 km and it was expected to be handed over to the Railways after completing all the processes.
The land acquisition process by the KIADB is simple and less cumbersome. The KIADB purchases the land on market rates or purchases the land from the owner through negotiations.
The process of land acquisition in the normal course under the land acquisition Act is a lengthy process as it involves issuing preliminary and final notifications giving enough time for the owners to file their objections. A social impact study will also be undertaken and it is ensured that the land-losers are provided jobs in the projects taken up using the acquired land.
The former Union Minister and Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who had sanctioned the project as Railway Minister, said that he had urged the State government to entrust the land acquisition process to the KIADB.
He said that he had spoken to Infrastructure Minister Roshan Baig and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and was also writing a letter.
Mr. Kharge said that the project would be delayed infinitely if the government decided to acquire the land in the normal course. He wanted the government to hasten the process of land acquisition through the KIADB and hand over the required land to the Railways for beginning the work at the earliest.
The initial estimate of the project, apart from the land acquisition cost, was Rs. 1,922 crore and the total length of the rail line between Wadi and Gadag was 256 km.